RABDF Youngstock Walk - Lancashire

Published 6 October 15

RABDF‘s next farm walk focusing on youngstock and heifer rearing is held Wednesday 7 October at Osbaldeston Hall Farm, Osbadleston, Lancashire. On the day dairy and beef farmers, can exchange information on calf health and welfare while improving the performance of dairy and beef youngstock rearing.

There will be talks on:

  • ‘Prevent profit from going down the drain – dealing with calf scours’ – Boehringer Ingelheim
  • ‘Feeding the Future’ – For Farmers
  • ‘Feed for Growth: Growing better cows’ – Volac
  • ‘Make your farm a fortress – Johnes & BVD control’ – XL Vets
  • ‘Managing air climate, keeping cold calves clean, cosy but fresh’ – Jamie Robertson

The event is free to attend but registration, at the RABDF website, is essential. 

At Osbaldeston Hall Farm, Chris and Erika Bargh are milk 125 cows on a robotic system with the milk being sold to Sainsbury. The cows are calved all year round.   

The cows are brought across to the calving pen when she starts to show signs of calving. When the calf is born it is moved to an individual pen where it is fed its mothers colostrum for the first four feeds. The calf will stay in the individual pen for one week to build up its strength and so it can be observe for illness or disease. These pens are batched in four and when the calves are moved into the training pen they get steam cleaned and rested.   

The calf is moved into the automatic feeder training pen where it will stay for five to six days. They are only fed milk, to ensure they are drinking enough milk and using this energy for growth and strength. 

After a week, they go into the larger pen and the machine will wean them off at 60 days.They are fed milk, water and ad-lib straw.   

The calves are then moved in batches of four to five into the loose housing. They start in the top pen and then move down the shed. They stay here for four months and are fed concentrates. This is their optimum growing time and Chris and Erika wish the calves to have the best diet and rumen development. 

Calves are then moved into the cubicle training shed. A week before this move they are fed silage so they are used to their new diet before they move sheds and stress is reduced. They will stay in this cubicle shed for up to 10 months of age, they are fed concentrate in an out of parlour feeder and silage.  

The calves then move across to the dry cow/youngstock cubicle shed. They stay on the right side of the shed from 10 months to service. Once served and in calf they move to the left side of the shed. The dry cows and heifers move into the milking cubicle shed two to three weeks before they are due to calve. This is so they get used to the shed and reduce stress once they have calved and ready to milk.

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