By Jen Davis with Anthony Eccles

Veterinary Calf disbudding … A good news story for calves and dairy farmers.

Warrnambool Veterinary has responded to industry and client concerns for calf welfare by providing a pain and stress-free calf disbudding service. Jen Davis, our Practice Manager, spoke to Purnim Dairy Farmer, Anthony Eccles about his experience with Warrnambool Veterinary’s Calf Disbudding service.

Anthony’s story highlights many of the benefits the service has brought to his calf rearing program and a few that you may not have thought about.

Anthony’s first point highlights the importance of reducing the stress on calves during disbudding. Anthony said his calves were “calm throughout the process, no kicking or bellowing and they recovered quickly and came into feed as if nothing had happened”. “The clipping around the horn buds prior to disbudding reduced any potential for infection” he added, “and with the calves coming into feed without issue post the disbudding their overall growth and development is not compromised as it can be after non-veterinary disbudding”.

Another facet of the disbudding service is the opportunity to use the time the calves are sedated for routine husbandry work. Anthony said “I was able to vaccinate with 7 in 1 and take hair samples for genomic testing while the vets checked for hernias and extra teats”. The ability to do this while the calves were sedated made the whole exercise so much quicker.”

That led Anthony to talk about the occupational health and safety benefits Veterinary Calf Disbudding has brought to his farm. With an injury to a worker, incidentally the result of wrangling with calves during last season’s non-veterinary disbudding procedure, Anthony was looking at potentially costly modifications to his yards to meet work-safe requirements. The introduction of Veterinary Calf Disbudding has meant that Anthony’s workers are not subjected to occupational health and safety issues when calf disbudding and Anthony was able to tick the box on work-safe requirements without any need for modifying his facilities.

In summation Anthony said adopting Veterinary Calf Disbudding on his farm has:

  • reduced the stress the practice places on his calves allowing them to maintain development,
  • delivered efficiencies on farm, and
  • provided a safer workplace for his staff.

We are pretty sure the calves are happy about the move too!

With Spring calving in our midst if you would like more information about Warrnambool Veterinary’s Veterinary Calf Disbudding service talk to one of our Dairy Vets or call the Farm Desk on 5561 7666.