If you handle or transport bobby calves you have a duty of care for their welfare.
Appropriate management, transportation, handling and marketing of bobby calves needs to be a priority for everyone in the dairy industry.
Agriculture Victoria’s dairy development specialist Sarah Chaplin said farm animal welfare, including bobby calf management, was an increasingly important issue in Australia and overseas.
It is important that farmers make sure all their animals receive the best care and attention.
‘‘If producers think about the last time they took a load of calves to (the) saleyards — how many people followed behind their calf trailer, passed them on the road, or waited behind them at the traffic lights?’’ Dr Chaplin said.
‘‘What people see in calves on their way to the saleyards reflects the care you have for all your animals.
‘‘Producers’ first concern needs to be the welfare of their calves.’’
Here’s a quick checklist:
Calves should be fit to load which means five days old, alert and healthy, and fed within the past six hours before loading.
The trailer should be clean, with bedding, a non-slip floor and a solid front to protect calves from the wind.
Once the calves are loaded, there should be enough room for all calves to lie down.
Dr Chaplin said the Land Transport Standards for bobby calves clearly stated that bobby calves must have sufficient space in the livestock crate to lie down on their sternums.
When calves are over-crowded during transport, calves that lie down or fall can become trampled and soiled.
‘‘It is important to do the right thing for the calves’ sake — producers have a responsibility to look after the animals in their care, particularly young animals.’’
Dr Chaplin said before producers went out on the road, they should take a moment to run through the checklist and make sure their load of calves was fit and presentable.
For more information on caring for calves during transport, visit: agriculture.vic.gov.au and search for ‘calf transport’, or phone Dr Chaplin on 0439 275 896 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org