3 Stages to Secure Newborn Calves Care & Proper Management

Although almost all mammals have the same birth process, but, some animals require intensive care after birth.

Today’s newborn calves grow older and will reach puberty and will turn into bulls in the future. If these buffaloes and bulls will grow up with proper care, will become profitable dairy cows and breeding bulls.

The first three months are the most crucial. The general rules for caring for newborn calf are – keep them fresh, dry, and worm place, providing colostrum and a better diet. 

Bulls can be used for tillage or other loading or transportation by making oxen through castration. At the same time, infertile calves can be reared for meat production through fattening.

Keeping these points in mind, it’s necessary to nurture through overall maintenance from birth to puberty.

Here, in this article, I will explain the best method for Newborn Calves Care and Management. Let’s explore the 3 stages to secure better calves. 

Newborn Calves Care & Management Techniques

In order to keep the calf healthy and strong, it is essential to take all necessary measures including balanced food supply, shelter, vaccination, and life security from birth to puberty. Furthermore, take the advice of an experienced veterinarian.

Newborn Calves Care and Management Techniques
Newborn Calf Care

First of all, the most important thing is to know the probable date of delivery of the cow. The average gestation period of a cow is 282 days. But, this can vary from 280 to 290 days.

You can easily count the days of delivery from the day of artificial insemination or natural intercourse.

This will help you to start the plan accordingly. When the gestation period is nearing completion, ensure routine check-ups to be aware of the health status of the cow.

If the time of delivery is present, transfer the cow to a special room for delivery. The house should be cleaned and disinfected. Moreover, it has exposure to ventilation and lining should be done well.

The delivery process usually takes about 2 to 3 hours. For cows giving birth for the first time, the process can take 4 to 5 hours or more.

During delivery, the animal should not be disturbed but should be noticed from a distance. Generally, domestic animals do not need any human assistance.

If an emergency situation arises, a veterinarian should be consulted immediately. After delivery, proper care should be taken for both cows and calves.

NOTE: When laying the calf, make sure that the calf’s eyes or other parts of the body are not injured. Seek the help of an experienced person or doctor. Do not try it without inexperienced hands.

1. Maternal Care [Before Birth]

Maternal care of calves mainly means care of the mother.

In this case,

the pregnant cow will need adequate nutrition and care for at least the last three months of pregnancy.Click To Tweet

Let’ learn how to secure maternal care… 

  • Care should be started three months before the birth of the calf.
  • At this time the cow needs to ensure a regular supply of balanced granular food, green fresh grass, quantity like hay, and various types of vitamins and minerals.
  • The pregnant cow should be given granular food for herself as well as for her calf.
  • Otherwise, the unborn calf will not be nourished and the cow may also have problems during childbirth.
  • If the cow has milk in her breast, it should be dried slowly in the last three months.
  • It takes about 14-15 days to stop burning the milk. And the process of stopping the burning of this milk has to start from 6 months of gestation.
  • The cow needs to get adequate rest.
  • You need to keep them in a clean, dry environment.
  • Don’t let them fight with others.

2. Caring for Cows and Newborn Calves During Birth

Caring for Cows and Newborn Calves During Birth
During Birth Caring for Cows and Newborn Calves

Here, I have explained- What to do in the care of cows and newborn calves during childbirth.

Choosing a comfortable place,

  • It is important to make sure that other animals such as dogs, cats, etc. Do not come near the calf during delivery. These animals can cause various problems during the delivery of cows.
  • Keep the delivery area of ​​the cow clean and tidy.
  • Make a soft bed of clean dry straw in that place. This will keep cows and newborn calves healthy.
  • Keep the cow in an open and secluded place during calving. However, the place should be such that it is not easily seen by outsiders.

During normal delivery,

  • Make sure, that the front legs of the newborn will come out with the head in it, then the whole body will come out and the baby will land.
  • If the delivery is not normal then the necessary action should be taken immediately with the advice of the doctor.
  • The cow will get up and sit repeatedly during calving. At this time the calf should be carefully grabbed and slowly pulled to the ground.

Caring immediately after delivery,

  • The calf’s umbilical cord should be given with iodine, gentian violet, acridine, ointment until the umbilicus is dry.
  • If the navel of the calf is too long, cut off the remaining part leaving two inches.
  • The calf can’t be moved away so that the cow can lick the calf as soon as the calf is delivered. This will clean the face and body of the calf and help to normalize breathing.
  • If the calf is unable to breathe, used artificial respiration to compress and expand the chest after placing the calf aside.
  • The back of the cow [the delivery tract] clean the outside thoroughly with water mixed with disinfectant.
  • Within 2 to 4 hours of calving, the placenta will fall off normally. But if the fetus does not fall within 12 to 24 hours of delivery, then it would be better to consult a doctor.
  • As soon as the uterus of the cow falls, put it in a hole under the ground. Otherwise, the cow may eat the uterus. And it has the potential to reduce milk production, including the digestion of cow’s food.

NOTE: The umbilical cord should be cut with something clean, sterile, and gripping. So that there is no possibility of infection. Also, fastened the umbilical cord with a tight clip so that it does not rub against the ground.

3. Care of Newborn Calves [After Birth]

The time after the birth of a newborn calf is the most important time in its entire life. Typically, the calf is able to stand on its own two feet within one hour of its birth. However, if the calf is unable to stand, provide little assistance.

After Birth Care -for Newborn Calves
After Birth Care -for Newborn Calves

Keep in mind that the calf wants to eat soil 3 to 6 days after birth or it eats soil whenever it gets a chance. Luckily, they have caring husbandry like you, to prevent eating soil. Right!

You should keep the following things in mind to take care of the newborn calf.

Feeding Colostrum

The first milk or colostrum is available for at least two days after calf birth. Colostrum is very important for calves. This increases the immunity of the calf and will remain healthy and strong.

The colostrum contains several nutrients and antibodies. These antibodies help the calf fight infection and disease.

Colostrum is called the calf’s “passport to life.” The calf should be fed at least 10% of the bodyweight of milk per day, which can be a maximum of 5-6 liters per day.

Keep It With Mother or in a Pen Room

If possible, keep them with their mother. However, on a larger farm, it is tough. But, I would like to keep them together for at least 3 days.

For the first few weeks, it is best to keep the calf in a separate pen or room. This makes it possible to definitely give more care and attention to the calf. After 2 months, the calf can be kept in a group with the rest of the calves.

Keep Progress Report

If possible, measure and recorded bodyweight regularly. This will help determine the amount of food eaten and the growth rate of the calf.

You can try feeding bottles. This makes it easy to keep track of how much milk the calf is getting. However, the normal relationship between mother and child will be disrupted.

Managing Proper Diet & Feeding Process

Due to poor management, illegal artificial feeding, lack of canned milk, excessive and irregular feeding, over-feeding of cold milk, lack of green food in the diet, etc., And Escherichia coli can usually cause disease in the esophagus of humans or animals.

In the early days, they will mostly consume milk. You need to provide milk every day for 90 consecutive days. If the calf is given less milk, the calf will suffer from malnutrition.

When the calf is over 90 days old, it will want to eat a small amount of granular food, then it should be fed in the same amount as well as cow’s milk to keep the calf healthy and strong.


Each calf needs 6 × 4 feet of space. The calf should always be kept germ free and clean. In any case, ensure the place is not always wet.

Also, make sure that the accommodation has natural light and airflow. Adequate lighting and ventilation are essential to keep the growth system in order.

Tips Ensure Proper Care in Winter

If a cow gives birth to a calf in winter, ensure a warm place for the cow and calf.

In winter, the calf must be wrapped in a warm cloth so that the calf does not feel cold. The first 72 hours after calf birth are risky. So make sure you are doing it right.

Frequently Asked Question About Newborn Calves Care

I will discuss some field related questions about newborn calf management-

1. What is the amount of milk for a newborn calf? How to feed?

The calf usually needs to be fed 1-tenth of its live weight in 24 hours. In this case, the calf should be separated from the cow within 3-5 days of birth.

Ensure milking 3/4 times a day in proportion to weight (10%). Initial milk is usually low in fat% so calves can easily digest it.

If the amount of milk in the cow is less than CMR (Calf Milk Replacer) should be given to the calf in proportion to the weight.

The biggest benefit of feeding through a feeder is that you can get the right amount of milk in proportion to the weight of the calf. Make sure the calves are always kept in a dry and clean place.

2. When Do Calves Drink Water?

Provide drinkable water from the beginning in a clean water feeder; Also make sure that, they always have access to the clean water. Hence, keep a water container in front of the calf.

3. When to Start Granules and Grass?

A calf usually fed 10% of its live weight for the first 2 months or CMR or both. Provide Milk / CME for a maximum of 80-90 days or 3 months depending on the condition of the calf’s body and another food intake, after which there is no need to feed the calf.

  • It is better to give a small amount of granular food to the calf from 3/4 days of age. The sooner a calf’s stomach is formed and the individual begins to work, the better.
  • However, you can provide a small amount of fine corn kernels. Moreover, you can start balance ration feed or Calf Starter Feed for calves after 2 weeks.
  • It takes 45-55 days or about 2 months for a calf to have a full stomach. So it is not right to give dry ash food to the calf in any way before that.
  • In the first 3 weeks of life, calves can be given a small amount of milk as well as soft young grass to start the habit of feeding them.
  • Gradually, increase the amount of grass and the supply of mature grass. Grass supply from 2 months of age can be given 4-5% of body weight.

4. Can a Calf be Dewormed or not? At What age?

Deworming can be used on the first day of calf birth if required. In this case, in addition to the most urgent, you can use deworming the calf in 3/4 days. Newborn calves can be infected with roundworms (Ascaris) from their mothers during pregnancy before they are born.

5. When the calf is released, it eats the soil! What to do?

Give maximum attention to the care of the calf without leaving it for the first 2 months. Don’t let them do such things.

6. How to Keep Them Healthy and Gain Weight Faster?

Always keep the calf habitat worm, dry, clean, and sterile.

If necessary you can give dry straw on the floor. Or best of all if Dan scatters straw on it. The urine water will roll down later.

In addition, his daily milk needs must be met as well as a balanced granular diet for the calf. If necessary, vitamin, mineral supplements can be given as per the advice of an inexperienced vet.

In this case, Vitamin B-Complex, Vitamin A, Zinc supplement are suggested by a vet considering the condition of the calf.

7. At What Age Should I Start Vaccinating Calves?

According to experienced vets, vaccination against FMD at the age of 1 month. In this case, the second dose applied within 3-4 weeks of the first vaccination.

In addition, considering the prevalence of the disease, the Black Quarter disease vaccine applied at the age of 3 to 4 months. After that twice a year. No need after 2 years of age. The interval between vaccination is at least 21 days.

8. Can I keep strong and weak calves together?

No, This is not recommended. You should keep the strong and weak calves separate at all times so that they can eat their own food and water. Also, it will reduce the risks of injuries duting fighting.

9. Why is the calf cold-cough?

Colds and coughs can be caused by extreme cold, wet weather, exposure to the sun, bacterial outbreaks, etc.

10. What are the symptoms of calf cold-cough?

Nasal congestion and occasional sneezing may occur with pain and fever.

11. What to do if you have a cold or cough?

The calf should be kept in a dry place and in light and air, and sulfur-like tablets readily available in the market should be fed as advised by the doctor.

Final Words

Care of calves is very important to reduce the mortality rate of calves and keep them healthy and strong. Today’s calf will grow up to be a dairy cow or bull in the future.

So, newborn calves care will determine the future of your dairy farming or beef cattle farming.

Hope, this answers all your query about calf caring. However, if you have any questions please let us know in the comment below.

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