Know How / Youngstock management

Get advice on rearing youngstock, whether that’s lambs, calves or piglets, including housing, nutrition and weaning. See how to deal with health issues such as calf pneumonia, calf scours and watery mouth. Find out how to hit growth rate targets and explore first time breeding protocols.

Case studies

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Family dairy saves money by making their own calf hutches

Dairy newcomers the Courtier family from Dartmoor switched from group housing calves to single hutches they designed and made themselves, to save money. Julian Courtier, who manages the 350-cow spring-…


What’s in Your Livestock Shed? visits a Gold Cup winner

What makes a Gold Cup winner? We look at some of the buildings and technology behind Washfold Farm’s success. Metcalfe Farms in Leyburn, North Yorkshire, is owned and run by…


How Irish dairy farmer saves €8,000 with calf-rearing method

Dairy farmers Michael and Shirley Bateman have slashed €8,000 (£7,028) off their calf-rearing bill by weaning calves off milk at six weeks of age. Michael Bateman first saw the rearing…


How new entrants raised pig conception and weaning weights

Simple tips learned through a training course have enabled one pig farming couple to boost sow conception rates, raise weaning weights and cut finishing times by 10 days a pig.…


How Co-op’s scheme keeps calves in the supply chain

Food retailer the Co-operative Group is expanding a calf scheme that integrates its dairy and beef supply chains. The scheme provides an outlet for all dairy/beef calves, including dairy bulls…


How one farm is achieving 96% calving in 6 weeks

A tight calving period is a key driver of profit on any block calving dairy unit, enabling farmers to make the most out of labour and drive other efficiencies. One spring-calving…

Practical advice

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How to manage colostrum and minimise calf losses

Father and son Derek and Adam Smith are keeping calf losses to a minimum by maintaining a closed herd, managing cow body condition and being extra vigilant at calving. Their…


Everything you need to know about automatic calf feeders

Many dairy farmers and calf rearers are moving to automatic milk feeders to reduce labour input. We look at what kind of management they require, how to get the best…


How to minimise calf stress if weaning early

Weaning calves early to help eke out winter forage stocks is good practice but must be carefully managed to minimise stress on the young animal, according to vet Jenny Hull.…


How to tackle cryptosporidium in calves

Cryptosporidiosis is the major cause of calf scour in UK beef and dairy herds and has been identified in samples from more than 40% of diagnosed infectious diarrhoea cases. Infected…


Complete guide to feeding newborn heifers

The first few hours of a calf’s life determine how that animal will go on to perform throughout its lifetime.   Calving by two years old is now deemed a…


Q&A: How to prevent and treat coccidiosis in calves

Coccidiosis is an intestinal disease usually seen in young beef and dairy calves aged between three weeks and six months. Infection is chiefly dependent on the level of challenge they…



What are the benefits of milk replacer for calf rearers?

More than half of all dairy and beef farmers in Great Britain now rear their youngstock on calf milk replacer (CMR) instead of whole milk, with potential disease risks a…


Why textbook heifer growth rates may not be good enough

Dairying experts at home and abroad are questioning whether units are achieving heifer growth targets of 0.7-0.8kg/day and if this gain is sufficient for the modern Holstein. Concerted efforts to…


Weaning lambs early could offer big benefits, trial shows

Early weaned lambs can grow as fast – if not – faster than their unweaned equivalents when fed legume-based forages. Research by New Zealand’s Massey University has found with the right…


Is bigger better when it comes to cow size?

Finding the right sized cow to suit the system is key to suckler productivity. Farmers Weekly analyses whether bigger or smaller cows are best. A growing number of farms are…


Pneumonia in calves: Pin down the cause and prevent it

Bacteria that cause pneumonia are fairly widespread and can live in a calf’s respiratory tract without causing disease. In the final part of this series, Caroline Stocks looks at what…


Pneumonia in calves: How farmers can cut the risk

The aim of Farmers Weekly’s new series is to help farmers reduce the costs of pneumonia
in calves. Caroline Stocks sets the scene with 
a look at the results of an…