dairy cow with calf in field

Performance and Behavioural Effects of Separating Dairy Cows and Their Calves at Birth

Michael Steele

Published:  19/07/2019    in:  Knowledge Summaries
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dairy cow with calf in field
PICO question

In Dairy Cows and Calves separated at birth vs. suckled with the mother, are there any behavioural and performance effects on both cow and/or calf?

Clinical bottom line

Calves allowed to suckle from their mothers show stronger behavioural bonds at weaning and appear to gain more weight (at weaning) than separated and automatically fed calves. However, due to the milk yield loss and subsequent favourable weight gains after weaning from ad lib suckling, automatically fed groups make separation at birth a preferable economic decision.

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