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Suckling, a natural calf rearing system for organic dairy farms

Langhout, MSc, BSc J. and Wagenaar, MSc J.P. (2006) Suckling, a natural calf rearing system for organic dairy farms. Paper at: Joint Organic Congress, Odense, Denmark, May 30-31, 2006.

[thumbnail of Natural_calf_rearing_system.doc] Other format - English


Abstract - Maternal behaviour and contact between cow and calf is limited or absent in modern dairy systems due to the wide use of bucket feeding. This is also the case in organic dairy systems. An increasing number of individual farmers are not satisfied with the artificial bucket feeding system. In order to improve the welfare of their dairy cattle, a number of organic farms introduced suckling systems. On the dairy farms that make use of a suckling system calves are suckled by their mother or a nurse cow, for a duration that ranges from three days up to three months. We evaluated on-farm the growth and production of calves reared in a bucket feeding system or a suckling system. Suckling systems make better use of the growing potential of calves in the first months of their lives. A high weaning weight may result in a lower age at first calving and a higher weight at calving. Higher bodyweight at calving also has a positive effect on milk production in the first lactation .

EPrint Type:Conference paper, poster, etc.
Type of presentation:Paper
Subjects: Animal husbandry > Production systems > Dairy cattle
Animal husbandry > Health and welfare
Animal husbandry > Feeding and growth
Research affiliation: International Conferences > 2006: Joint Organic Congress > Theme 7: Development of livestock production systems
Deposited By: Langhout, J.
ID Code:7697
Deposited On:09 May 2006
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:32
Document Language:English
Refereed:Not peer-reviewed

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