Care of bobby calves on-farm

Caring for animals is an important part of everyday life on a dairy farm. Farmers work to provide calves with a safe, healthy environment for the whole of their lives, even after they leave the farm.

Hear from the people who work every day with calves…  

Dairy farmers ensure that their calves are fit and healthy by:
  • removing calves from their dams within 12 hours of birth to minimise risk of disease transfer (see: 3-Step Calf Plan) and lower the stress for both cow and calf;
  • providing calves with an adequate amount of good quality colostrum before they are 12 hours old;
  • providing calves with clean, draught-free shelter; and
  • handling all calves with care.

The dairy industry regularly undertakes farmer surveys to measure the adoption of on-farm practices that ensure calves are fit for transport and sale.

More information

Dairy welfare, we care Animal husbandry survey 2014 (PDF, 957KB)

This survey found that:

  • Most dairy farmers are making sure that calves destined for sale receive colostrum (71%). 
  • Nearly all farms have a system to confirm that calves are fed within 6 hours of pick up (97%).
  • The majority of calves are fed within 2 hours of the expected time of pick up (63%).

Humane killing and disposal of sick or injured cattle (PDF, 1KB)

Sometimes calves have to be put down due to disease or injury. Dairy Australia has developed a fact sheet that outlines best practices for euthanasia of livestock.Accredited training on “Euthanasia of Livestock” is also being provided to farmers through the NCDE.