News & Advice

Bobby calves and restricted medicines

Jun 3, 2021 | Compliance, Dairy, Young Stock

Joe Conroy, veterinarian, Anexa Vets

Calving season is fast approaching! As such, it is a good time to refresh ourselves on the importance of restricted veterinary medicines and bobby calves. As a result of some favourable pasture growth around much of the Waikato this autumn, many farmers have pushed out dry off dates towards the end of May. The flow on effect of this is a shorter dry period and the need for extra consideration around bobby calves, especially where a long acting dry cow product has been used.

The key points to remember are:
  • The meat withhold period for any treatment a cow receives prior to calving applies to both cow and calf. If milk taken from a cow, within a milk withhold period, is fed to calves the default meat withhold period of 91 days will apply to those calves.
  • If milk is fed to calves from a cow under a milk withhold period, the default meat withhold period of 91 days will apply to those calves.
    It is okay to feed the colostrum (first 8 milkings) of a cow that received dry cow treatment PROVIDED the number of days stated on the milk withhold period have elapsed (for example 49 days for Cepravin).
  • Any treatment with a withhold period must not be used on bobby calves.

As bobby calves only have a limited life, they deserve to be treated as well as replacements. Doing so will ensure that by the time they are to be transported (at least 4 full days old) they are free from disease or injury, have dry navels, are well fed and have firm, worn hooves. They must be bright, responsive and able to move freely.

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