The maternity area of your dairy is a vital component of the future of your dairy. Making this area more efficient is critical to the livelihood of the future herd. If your protocols are lacking, then you will see issues in your calves. Here are five tips to maximize the efficiency of the maternity area as published in Hoards Dairyman.
1. Maximize the labor you already have. Use technology to make up for labor shortages like using a colostrum warmer/pasteurizer that can text the maternity manager when the colostrum is ready, which will leave them free to take care of their other tasks in the meantime. Using a colostrum warmer will allow your maternity employees to do all the initial tasks of newborn care while the colostrum is thawing. They don’t have to sit and wait on the colostrum or have the colostrum waiting on them. Check out the Calf HERO™ colostrum pasteurizer which can be connected to the Internet, allowing you and the maternity employees to be alerted by text messages when the colostrum is finished being pasteurized or thawed and ready to feed or even if there is an issue with the unit.
2. Ergonomics improves your employee’s attitude and lessens fatigue. Happy employees and comfortable employees take better care of their calves because they have more patience they are less irritated, which can improve animal welfare. When there are multiple newborn feedings in a single day consider using a backpack to hold the heavy colostrum bag such as the Calf HERO™ colostrum backpack. Also, look at colostrum feeding systems that offer multiple options for feeding like tube feeders, nipple feeders or can be extended with a hose to make feeding easier.
3. Protect the calf using proper tools, ones that prevent injury to the calf and make it easy for the maternity worker to do their job. Using either a stainless steel tube feeder to feed or a single-use plastic tube feeder ensures that each calf gets a fresh and clean feeding. Stainless steel tube feeders can be easily cleaned and sanitized between each calf. Using a single-use tube feeder like Golden Calf Company’s Calf HERO™ snap-in style tube feeder ensures that each calf is getting its own brand new tube feeder. Also, using colostrum that’s clean, preferably pasteurized in the container you’re feeding out of, eliminates one of the contamination points and can help to prevent sickness, illness, or scours.
4. Save money and protect the environment. Using a single-use tube feeder such as the Golden Calf Company’s Calf HERO™ snap-in tube feeder in our Calf HERO™ single-use colostrum bags will reduce not only the chemical usage of cleaning chemicals but also reduce the risk of potential exposure to the harsh fumes from the cleaning and sanitizing chemicals. As water consumption comes under more intense scrutiny, every drop of water counts. Eliminating the need to wash tube feeders and bottles will not only save the wash water but will also reduce the chances of leaking faucets.
5. Focus on Process! Take a look at how lean your operation is. Using a Lean Manufacturing approach to the set-up, location, training, protocols, etc. will enable you to make your maternity area more seamless and run more efficiently. Examine your colostrum management system. Are there any redundant steps? Can you feed faster? Consider using a colostrum bag and tube feeder with a larger opening to speed up the feeding of newborn calves. Does your colostrum management program work as a whole? Consider using the Golden Calf Company’s Calf HERO™ colostrum management system where cartridges hold the colostrum bags in the same profile to facilitate faster heating and more accurate pasteurizing.