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Stackyard News Nov 06

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Scour Solution For Calves Without Growth Setback

Thanks to a new product from specialist animal nutrition company SCA NuTec, calves can be successfully treated for scours and other digestive upsets without incurring setbacks in growth rates.



Critical Care is an electrolyte blend with the essential ingredients for rehydration. In addition – and what makes it different from many other electrolyte products – is that it also contains milk protein and a slow releasing source of energy together with the gut conditioning package NuStart.

“The addition of protein, slow releasing energy and NuStart makes Critical Care unique,” says SCA NuTec ruminant nutritionist Norman Downey. “The great advantage is that the new product is a complete feed. Calves receive the essential rehydration treatment and at the same time get the necessary protein and energy to minimise any setbacks in growth rate.”

At the first signs of any digestive upset, Mr Downey recommends taking the calf off milk completely and feeding two litres of Critical Care. This should be followed by two further feeds of two litres each at 12 hour intervals then milk reintroduced after 36 hours.

“If the calf’s condition improves after 12 hours, having had two feeds of Critical Care then milk can be introduced earlier,” he adds.

In trials, calves fed on Critical Care have been shown to recover quickly and not suffer from growth checks. Subsequent incidences of diarrhoea have also been reduced. Compared with calves fed on a conventional electrolyte, those on Critical Care achieved 65% higher daily liveweight gains over the course of a week and consumed more milk powder.

“Maintaining the supply of protein and energy will keep growth rates moving,” adds Mr Downy. “Including NuStart helps too, in boosting gut health by stimulating the growth of beneficial bacteria and this should help prevent subsequent digestive problems.”

Suited to dairy and beef systems, many producers are now feeding Critical Care to bought-in calves when they arrive on the unit as well as to calves at the early onset of any problems.

Available in dried form in 2.4kg or 5kg, a 2litre feed is made up by mixing 200g with 1.8 litres of warm water. Critical care is also available in 200g sachets. “Using Critical Care for two or three feeds will cost between £5.40 and £8 to complete the course – a cost that can be easily justified through better growth rates and improved health.”

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