Reducing Calf Mortality

Larry Morehead

Larry Morehead

Two factors are key to determining a calf’s health and survival during the first weeks of life – its immune system and its gut microflora.

Feeding Bio-Mos to the calf’s mother will support the development of the calf’s immune system through improved colostrum quality. Feeding Bio-Moss to the calf itself will help directly to protect the intestine from scour-causing pathogens, which is highly effective in limiting diarrhea and any resulting calf mortalities.

You should start feeding Bio-Moss to the cows 30 days before you start calving. This will help get cows cleaned up before calving.  Also, have it out free choice during calving for the calves to stick their nose into it for some intake for themselves.


U.S. studies revealed that the average calf mortality rate is 8.3 percent. About 27 percent of these deaths occur during the first week of life, 21 percent the second week, and 14 percent during the third week following calving. This means that more than 50 percent of calf deaths occur during the first three weeks of age.

Around 61 percent of deaths are the result of diarrhea, while 24 percent are due to respiratory diseases and 14 percent to other causes. These figures emphasize the need to improve the calf’s immune status and also gut health.

For more information, contact your local United Farmers Cooperative location. We will enjoy being a service to you.