Evaluating a successful calf-raising program consists of monitoring both calf health and calf performance. In order to evaluate calf health, the calf’s navel should be checked for signs of infection. The total serum protein concentration can also be measured by drawing a blood sample from the calf. Since the calf is born without maternal antibodies, this test will determine if there was a successful passive transfer of antibodies from the dam’s colostrum to the calf.
In order to evaluate growth, measurements of body weight and growth — such as heart girth and hip height — should be taken at both birth and weaning (at a minimum). Dr. Angie Manthey shares more details on how to monitor your calf’s health in the video below.