Marie Todd – Sharemilker
Marie and her husband Glen are 50/50 sharemilkers in Tokoroa milking 360 cows and rearing 80 replacement calves per year. Marie has been farming and raising calves for 13 years and juggles 2 young boys with working on the farm.
Animal health and sustainable farming practices are a priority for Marie and Glen and this shows in the attention to detail Marie demonstrates in her calf rearing.
Recording information is important. It's a written reference to look back on if needed. I record each calves number, their mother, the date they were born, their birth difficulty or any assistance, the weather, how they had their first feed (off their mother or off feeder, bottle, tube).
In the middle of calving your days can be long and sometimes the nights even longer, making it easy in the calf shed pays off for people who are time restricted. We number our calves with blue paint corresponding to the day they arrived in the calf shed (bobby or replacement). Monday=1, Tues=2, Wed=3 & so on. It's a visual marker that's quick and easy for limited shed space.
This works particularly for bobby calves. If they have a 1 they came into the shed on Monday, you can easily see who can leave the farm at 4-5 days old.
For replacements it's a quick look around to see how old the calf is and where they should be feeding wise.
Vetsan is a disinfectant to help sanitise and clean my calf pens and I also use it as a foot bath at entrance & bobby pens where truck drivers enter. It kills Crypto and Rotavirus spores.
OptiGuard from birth, adlib beside fresh water is a permanent supplement we have intergraded into our calf rearing procedures. It helps with nutritional scours, a great binding tool especially for younger calves. We supplement it alongside meal until they are weaned off milk completely.
Ensuring all calves get fresh gold colostrum in the first 6-10 hours of life, making them a priority on farm will pay off for years to come.
Airflow and sunlight.
Ensuring calves get adequate airflow and sunlight! Sun is warm & good for the soul, getting calves outside early in a sheltered paddock is the best way to ensure they grow well & to their full potential.
Want to learn more about the Calf rearing protocols? Head to the Downloads section on the righthand side of the OptiGuard landing page for more info.