Characteristics of calves rearing in northern Croatia
2018, 19 (1) p. 49-60
The aim of this study was to investigate characteristics of calves rearing technologies at family farms in northern Croatia (Varazdin and Medjumurje County). Calves up to eight weeks of age at family farms in Varazdin County were kept mostly tied (57.7%). After eight weeks of age, calves in both analysed Counties are dominantly kept tied. First colostrums ration was given to calves within first three hours after calving, i.e. on 99.2% of analysed farms in Varazdin County and 90% of analysed farms in Medjimurje County. On the majority of farms colostrums is given to the calves in amount of 1-1.5 litres (51.9% Varazdin, i.e. 65% Medjimurje County). Freezing of colostrum is done at 10.5% of analysed farms in Varazdin and 15% of analysed farms in Medjimurje County. In Varazdin County farmers feed calves with milk or milk replacer significantly longer (P<0.001) than farmers in Medjimurje County. Consequently, calves in Medjimurje County consumes significantly lower quantities of milk or milk replacer (P<0.001). Calves in the Medjimurje County are significantly earlier fed with solid feed: hay (P<0.05), pre-starter or starter (P<0.001), and water (P<0.001) than on farms at the Varazdin County. Total mixed ratio (TMR) was used neither in Varazdin nor in Medjmurje County in calves’ nutrition, and colostrums quality was checked only at 3% of farms in Varazdin County (4 farms), and only at one farm in Medjimurje County.