Implemented on a rose veal farm, Mazovian Region, Poland.

Description of the good practice

The calf health assessment system has a simple scoring system, in which six different criteria are assessed. The higher the score, the greater the risk when buying such a calf. A total assessment of more than 5 points indicates a bad health status for a calf. The first step is to assess the rectal temperature of the calves. This can only be done for a specific sample   group of animals(10-15%). The individuals should have a temperature that varies between 37.7–38.3 ° C: a higher temperature means health problems. The second important indicator is the respiratory status of the calves, and relates to the occurrence of a cough. No cough is, of course, the most desirable situation, while single coughs can mark the beginning of health problems. 

1. Rectal temperature: 

0-    37.7–38.3 °C

1-    38.4–38.8 °C

2-    38.9–39,3 °C

3-    >39.4 °C

2. Cough:

0-    None

1-    Induce a single cough

2-    Induced repeated coughs or occasional spontaneous coughing

3-    Repeated spontaneous coughing

3. Nasal discharge:

0-    Normal serous discharge

1-    Small amount of unilateral cloudy discharge

2-    Bilateral, cloudy or excessive mucus discharge

3-    Copious bilateral mucopurulent discharge

4. Eye score:

0-    Normal

1-    Small amount of ocular discharge

2-    Moderate amount of bilateral discharge

3-    Heavy ocular discharge

5. Ear score:

0-    Normal

1-    Ear flick or head shake

2-    Slight unilateral droop

3-    Head tilt or bilateral droop

6. Faecal score:

0-    Normal

1-    Semi-formed, pasty

2-    Loose, but stays on top of bedding

3-    Watery, sifts through bedding  

Impact on farm performance

The economic result of farms focused on cattle depends to a large extent on the health and the quality of the purchased calves. Poor calves show lower nutritional efficiency, worse daily growth, higher incidences of illness and cases of mortality. A high percentage of calves die in the first month after arrival on a farm, which usually depends on where the animal was purchase  (supplier) and its weight, and age 

Farmer’s comment (for Good Practices)

Józef: This simple and easy-to-use system allows me to save money on the purchase of sick calves, which require treatment.

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