A Healthy Thriving Calf is a Profitable Calf

A Healthy Thriving Calf is a Profitable Calf

Smart calf rearing leads to healthy profits on-farm.

TERRA NutriTECH looks at the various aspects that can have a significant impact on calf health.


Calves are challenged by a series of stress factors after they are born, including changes in their surroundings, changes from the sterile uterus to natural outside conditions. Cows should calve in a clean environment and pregnant cows should be kept out of the calving area until close to calving. Temperature is also important; a study conducted by Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (ADHD) showed that calves in warmer buildings grew better because they were not using energy to keep warm.


Calves are born with an underdeveloped immune system and the importance of getting good quality colostrum is well known. Remember proper cow vaccination against E. coli and rotavirus and coronavirus can increase the antibodies she passes through her colostrum to the calf. It is important calves are fed 3-4 litres of colostrum as soon as possible after birth and always within six hours, as noted in a study ADHD covered. TERRA NutriTECH advises that this is the single most important determinant of the calf’s immune status during the neonatal period. Failure to do this means a 3-to-10-fold increase in the calf’s risk of becoming sick.

When up against an underdeveloped immune system as farmers we want the calf to have a healthy gut allowing it to grow and reach target weights, however there are endless amounts of diseases and hazards that can prevent this such as calf scour, E. coli, Rotavirus, Bovine Virus Diarrhea or Coccidiosis. 

Scouring is the most common health problem affecting young cattle and milk-fed animals is the result of altered gut function which increases the amount of manure and fluids the calf eliminates. Calves are particularly susceptible during their second week of life.

Teagasc has noted up to 40% of calf deaths in the first six weeks of life are scour-related. Feeding natural additives to new-born calves can help boost immune function and also prevent or minimise scour. TERRA NutriTECH’s Aura Calf is a proven method in not only reducing issues of scour and stimulating recovery after scouring it also improves gut health and nutrient absorption. Calves affected with scours are twice as likely to develop pneumonia and affect growth rates. The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) highlights the importance of early detection of ill-health and why regular monitoring of growth rate throughout the rearing period is essential to maximise lifetime performance.


TERRA NutriTECH advises that Ill-thrift is when calves grow slower than their peers. Thrive in young stock is a major concern for successful cattle farmers – A healthy thriving calf is a profitable calf. Youngstock is determined to be ‘thriving’ when they are feeding well, growing at a good rate, and showing signs of overall good health.

Ensure the calf’s nutritional needs are being met – with a diet appropriate for the calf’s growth stage, and environment. Fibre should be added to the diet in the form of hay or palatable straw. Fibre helps improve rumen health, and so will impact digestion and encourage correct nutrient absorption.

ADHD’s study noted that there is a proven link between good growth rates and first lactation yield. With the study noting to aim for heifers to calve at 22-24 months so they need to achieve a growth rate of 0.8kg/day. To achieve target weights in time TERRA NutriTECH Thrive is a blend of minerals to help with growth, health, and weight gain.  Giving this blend of mineral for calves 2 months and older will support herd health and immunity development and indeed use it all year round to maximise weight gain.

Some of the main causes of Ill-thrift coming from; mineral deficiency – particularly cobalt, selenium, copper, and zinc, poor immune systems, and poor rumen development. With all the effort we farmers put into top quality silage it is so important to take the most from this and therefore a healthy rumen is essential as the calf will process the silage and also their concentrates. Giving TERRA NutriTECH Rumen Guard 30 days after calving up to 6 months old will improve young calves’ gut health by providing better rumen function and nutrient uptake.

Cow and Calf

Healthy calves are born from healthy cows so looking after your cow pre calving is essential. Metritis in cows is a metabolic disorder that is caused by the inflammation of the uterus of the animal. It is usually caused by a bacterial infection and is easy to identify. TERRA NutriTECH discusses how Metritis usually develops in cows in the first 5-7 days post-calving. Once a cow is identified to have metritis, it is important to seek veterinary advice immediately.

Like most metabolic disorders post-calving, metritis will have a negative effect on milk production, and if it is left untreated it can have long-term implications on the cow’s production cycle or can even result in death. Metritis can also be closely associated with retained cleanings, abortions and can be an issue at breeding time. Best practice is to minimise the risk of Metritis.  A proper dry cow mineral program is a key solution to preventing Metritis in cows which really begins in the pre-calving season.


To ensure you have a successful calving season it is key to invest in the health of the cow at pre-calving stage. Pre-Calver mineral blend from TERRA NutriTECH has a lot of important elements contained within it like liquid Magnesium, Copper, Selenium, Zinc, Vitamins A/D/E, Cobalt, and also Iodine. This can be given to your cow 8-10 weeks prior to calving through their daily water intake through one of the distribution systems.

Why should we consider mineral liquid? Well, we all aim to have fewer cases of milk fever, retained cleanings post-calving and healthier calves. “Through the last year at calving times we haven’t had retained cleans in the cows” Philip Murphy | Co Kilkenny Farmer | TERRA NutriTECH Customer. It is recommended by TERRA NutriTECH’s Nutritionist to use Calving Magnesium as a preventative means for milk fever, therefore, avoiding having to get the vet to administer calcium directly into the bloodstream.

Hit the Ground Running

Your calf will hit the ground running and your cow will be set up for better fertility when it comes around to starting the whole cycle again. The combination of these factors will be reduced vet attendances and a reduction in the use of medication therefore more profits.

Minerals & Application

Minerals for cattle play a vital role in animal health, so maintaining optimum vitamin, mineral and supplement levels in your herd will ensure strong animal performance, growth, health and ultimately help the profitability of your farm. TERRA NutriTECH is committed to delivering tailor-made mineral solutions to meet your farm’s specific needs.

These minerals for cows can be fed by hand dosing into troughs or using TERRA NutriTECH dosing technology. All TERRA NutriTECH Systems dose accurately because they follow water consumption patterns. Used in conjunction with the smartphone app to precisely input animal numbers and dosage rates for optimum results.

Get in touch…

Call Ronan: (087) 708 6714

Email: [email protected]