Management is the key to make any system successful. A study by Pithua, et al. evaluated the prevalence of calf diarrhea, respiratory disease and morbidity attributable to any cause in calves that were born in individual calving pens, cleaned between each calving and calves born in group calving pens. All calves were separated from the dams within two hours of birth. Calves were evaluated through 90 days of age.
The risk of diarrhea, pneumonia and morbidity due to any other cause were not significantly different between calves born in single cow vs. multiple cow calving pens. This study does not mean that there isn’t potentially greater risk to multiple cow pens, but that it can be managed.
The joy of a calving can be cut short by infections in either the calf or the dam. Critical care is essential to reduce the exposure of both animals to pathogens. It involves cleanliness of the pen, time in the pen and management of the animals. Attention by employees and owners will help keep the calving pen a place of joy!
Source: Michigan State University