Abstract | A survey was conducted to characterize calf management and hygiene practices adopted by dairy farmers at Chittagong, in Bangladesh. A total of 210 dairy farms located in 3 geographically distinct regions in Chittagong division, namely coastal, hilly and plain area, were surveyed. Calf management and hygiene practice related data was collected through a standard questionnaire and all sampled farms were visited once by technical persons and administered the questionnaire by ‘face to face’ method during the period July, 2015 to May, 2016. Statistically significant variations were observed in distribution of different factors through different strata (herd size and region). Among larger farms (>50 cows), 10% had a poor hygiene score whereas 32% of the smaller farms (5-20 cows) belonged to this category. 97% of the large farms used tube well water as the source of drinking water for their calves; whereas 35% of the small farms used surface water. None of the large and medium farm owner said they never clean the calf pen; 47% small farm owners said yes to it. More than half of the smallholders (54%) were discovered with raising other domestic animals and birds within the same premises. Hygiene score and surrounding environment of the farms did not show any regional variation (p>0.05). Remarkably 65% farms of the hilly area used surface water for their calves to drink with. The relationship between management practices and calf mortality/morbidity is complex. Our study design did not allow us to draw conclusions about the management and hygiene practice responsible for calf mortality/morbidity, but knowing the management practices adopted on farms is valuable for bringing attention to herds with less optimal practices and for planning meaningful experiments to explore causal affects.
Keywords | Calf management, Farm hygiene, Calf mortality, Survey, Demography