Factors affecting rearing practices and health of calves on family farms

Keywords: calf, management, diarrhea, respiratory diseases, prevention, welfare


Aim of the study: Calf rearing practices vary in different countries and may be affected by many factors. Poor management is related to diseases outbreak and death in calves. This study aimed to analyze practices in calf rearing and the occurrence of common calf diseases on family farms in two European countries and to examine the characteristics of a farmer and his farm as factors that may affect the way of performing practices related to calves’ health.

Area of study: Slovenia and Serbia.

Material and methods: For collecting data, the same questionnaire-based survey was distributed among cattle farm owners in Slovenia and Serbia.

Main results: The following factors showed a significant influence (p<0.05) on certain rearing practices: farm size (on time for checking calves, milk reheating, and providing rehydration fluids to the calf with diarrhea in Slovenia), specialization of the production (on preventive antiparasitic treatments and restriction of drinking water for calves with diarrhea in Slovenia, and the time for checking calves in Serbia), breeder’s age (on colostrum quality checking in Slovenia), and breeder’s education (on time for checking calves and checking colostrum quality in Serbia). The results pointed out the rearing practices to be improved in both countries, Slovenia and Serbia, such as colostrum management and prevention strategies of calf diseases.

Research highlights: Characteristics of the farmer and his farm may affect many aspects of calves’ rearing. Continuous education of farmers and appropriate production planning can contribute to better farm productivity and better health and welfare of calves.


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How to Cite
Relic, R., Lakic, N., Jankovic, L., Davidovic, V., Staric, J., & Jezek, J. (2021). Factors affecting rearing practices and health of calves on family farms. Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research, 19(1), e0501. https://doi.org/10.5424/sjar/2021191-17181
Animal health and welfare