Acta Univ. Agric. Silvic. Mendelianae Brun. 2019, 67, 1147-1152
Published online 2019-10-31

Management Practices Affecting Calves Welfare on Farms in Slovenia

Jožica Ježek1, Petra Grabnar2, Barbara Beci3, Martina Klinkon1, Marija Nemec1, Jaka Jakob Hodnik1, Jože Starič1

1Clinic for Reproduction and Large Animals, Veterinary Faculty, University of Ljubljana, Kongresni trg 12, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
2Fishguard veterinary services, Trem Y Mor, Fishguard SA65 9DW, Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK
3DAP de Linde Retie, Noordstraat 73, 2470 Retie, Belgium

Received July 1, 2019
Accepted August 20, 2019

Calf rearing practices in Slovenian herds were investigated with questionnaire-based survey. The data was obtained from 293 farms in Slovenia about their management, especially milk and colostrum feeding protocol, manner of weaning, housing, hygiene on the farm and biosecurity measures. Majority of respondents think the colostrum supply is very important. In 77% of farms, calves receive the first colostrum meal within 2 hours after birth. Quality of colostrum is not considered in 59% of farms. The temperature of colostrum and milk check 73% of farmers, however majority do it manually without using thermometer. Farmers weans calves gradually, mostly considering the age at weaning (45%). Calves are weaned at mean age of 14.18 weeks. In 57.3% of farms, newborn calves are housed in individual pens. Thirty four percent of farmers are cleaning pens for newborn calves after each calf. Half of farmers observe their calves more than 15 minutes daily. Different biosecurity measures are used in 98% of farms. Many farmers are well aware that calf rearing management bear on later milk and meat production and some would need more persuasion to follow the appropriate management practices.


We acknowledge all the farmers who participated in the survey and veterinarians who helped by distribution of the questionnaires. The authors acknowledge the financial support from the Slovenian Research Agency (research core funding No. [P4-0092]).


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