Biosecurity refers to protecting a farm and the animals and people on that farm from pathogens. These pathogens can be introduced from outside the farm, moved around within the farm or spread from one farm to other farms. Jim Reynolds, professor at the University of California-Davis, provided the following biosecurity tips for calves and calf ranches at the 2009 Dairy Calf and Heifer Conference in Tucson, Ariz.

  • Biosecurity involves keeping pathogens away from calves.
  • Everything a calf touches must be as clean as possible; from birth, through transport to the calf facility, housing, feeding and treating.
  • Keep calves in positive growth so they can respond to infections with competent immune systems. This will increase the amount of pathogens needed to make them clinically ill, improve response to treatment and decrease pathogen shedding.
  • Pasteurize waste milk correctly.
  • Use contagious disease protocols to minimize spread of pathogens between calves.
  • Control access to the farm and keep records of people entering the farm. Record where calves came from and where they went to.
  • Source calves from good dairies and review health and mortality records by farm.
  • Have a veterinarian necropsy calves to diagnose causes of death. Analyze health and mortality records by age and disease to determine probable risks.

Source: Dairy Calf and Heifer Association