The calf mortality in our country is 12.28% and represents significant economic losses in commercial dairy farms. Besides, high calf mortality rates hamper genetic potential for herd improvement and impede progress toward replacing cull cows. However, the risk of calf death is highest during the first three weeks of life and can be reduced with appropriate farm management. In Bangladesh, the most common causes of calf mortality are pneumonia, foot and mouth disease (FMD); calf scours etc. Female calf mortality varied greatly between herds, with a high percentage of calf’s death during the pre-weaning period in many cases. Newborn and growing dairy calves require adequate amounts of quality feed as well as a comfortable farm environment that meets their thermal, physical, and behavioral needs. Inadequate environmental and feeding conditions can stress calves, affecting immune responses, growth rates, disease resistance, and overall health. Moreover, Colostrum (mammary gland's first secretion after calving) is required by calves for disease prevention and nutrition. To reduce disease susceptibility and mortality, good quality colostrum with a high level of Immune-globulin (Ig) must be fed as soon as possible after birth.
As part of overall farm management, different control measures are used to deal with both infectious and non-infectious causes of calf death. For example, ACI's Fra Alpha Calf assists farmers in lowering their treatment costs for Pneumonia. Besides, feeding a tube of Ig-Lock gold to a calf within six hours of birth provides sufficient Immune-globulin (Ig) required for a calf. Feeding milk replacer like Jeevan (from Amul, India) makes calf rearing management easier. We need to engage veterinary doctors (both working in public and private sectors) with dairy farmers to help them manage farm housing and feeding, as well as farm problems.
Dr. F H Ansarey
ACI Agribusinesses Division
Md. Anowar Parvez, Md. Rayhan Faruque, Rokeya Khatun, Prevalence of Abortion, Calf Mortality and Proportion of Cattle Population in Commercial Dairy Farms of Bangladesh,2020, Research Journal of Veterinary Practitioners
Sarder Islam, Causes and Consequences of Calf Mortality in a Dairy Farm of Bangladesh, Bangladesh Journal of Veterinary Medicine