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Our approach to cryptosporidium control

Several agents can cause a calf to scour. One agent who does this on its own or with secondary viral agents is cryptosporidium parvum.

This small parasite can be tough to treat and prevent.

One of our two vision farms struggled with this last year.

So, in the video above, our veterinary consultant, Tommy Heffernan, talks through what our protocols will be this year.

There will be a big focus on consistent routines and hygiene. Also, we will be focusing on immunity and maximizing this in our young calves.

Remember also cryptosporidium is zoonotic, meaning you can pick this infection up yourself from infected calves.



We are focusing on feeding our dry cows to enhance colostrum quality. We have vaccinated them with Rotavac corona 6 weeks from calving.

We will test the first 10 colostrum samples and again during the season. This will ensure our dry cow nutrition is working and also that we are feeding only high-quality colostrum.

So high-quality colostrum must be fed quickly, and we aim to get 3 litres into every calf within 6 hours. We will stomach tube any weak calves.

We have a colostrum gold replacer on standby for where colostrum quality is an issue in heifers or late-night calving.

All our calves are going on a special liquid probiotic for the first 10 days and then twice weekly up to 6 weeks of age.


Infection pressure

We are using hydrogen peroxide 3% to disinfect all our sheds before calving. We also have set up regular SOPs around cleaning all equipment daily and weekly.

There will be a big focus on the hygiene of calf pens. We are using a unique approach with fogging environmental microbes also.

There is a big focus on hygiene around harvesting colostrum. Dump buckets and all milk feeding equipment will be cleaned using a special sterilizing and descaling disinfectant.



We will have a weekly review of calf health. We will also test samples using (rapid scour test kits) any calves with diarrhoea.

This will allow us to review what is causing any scours and identify pathogens quickly on the farm.

Our treatment protocol is to remove and rehydrate with oral hydra-power advanced electrolyte. These will be 2 litre feeds twice daily in between milk feeding.

For a more detailed review, check out our video above.

Please check out our full calf health training video series and talk through our checklist for all areas of calf health.


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