Wanting to breed calves or to understand how to care for them?

This course will provide you with the knowledge to select calves for specific purposes
(e.g. dairy, beef, breeding) and to rear them. It covers:

  • Calving and Culling
  • Management of Calves
  • Calf Health and Diseases
  • Calf Rearing Systems
  • Calf Housing
  • Calf Weaning

Learn how calves are managed on the farm

Raising calves is an integral part of both beef and dairy farming.

Better calf raising skills will translate into more business or career prospects for anyone working in this sector of agriculture.



There are 7 lessons as follows:
    Lesson 1: Calving and Culling
    Lesson 2: Calving Management
    Lesson 3: Calf Health Management
    Lesson 4: Calf Rearing Systems
    Lesson 5: Calf Housing
    Lesson 6: Weaning
    Lesson 7: Post-weaning
    Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

    Duration: 100 hours



    • Know how to select calves for specified purposes, including dairy stock, and breeding stock.
    • Explain the methods of managing calving operations on a farm.
    • Explain the diagnosis of common health problems which may occur in calves.
    • Explain different techniques of calf rearing.
    • Explain the housing requirements of calves in an animal production situation.
    • Explain the procedures for weaning calves in an commercial situation.
    • Explain the post-weaning requirements of calves, in a commercial situation.


    Here are just some of the things you will be doing:

    • Explain the phenotype factors related to the selection of calves.
    • Explain the genotype factors related to the selection of calves.
    • Write a checklist of criteria for selecting calves for dairying.
    • Explain how breeding can assist in obtaining calves for three different specified purposes.
    • Describe the different stages in the normal birth of a calf.
    • Explain the process of calving, in response to either observations of a calf being born, or the viewing of a video of a calf being born.
    • Explain at least five problems that can occur during calving, on a typical property in the learner's locality.
    • Analyse two case studies of problematic calving incidents.
    • List at least four methods for over-coming specified calving problems.
    • List the common health problems which can occur with calves in the learner's locality.
    • Describe the symptoms of at least three common calf diseases, including scouring.
    • Explain the possible effects of stress on a calf.
    • Explain an appropriate treatment for at least three common calf diseases, including scouring.
    • Develop guidelines for stock culling, for a specified property.
    • Analyse data in a case study in order to diagnose the health problems of a calf.
    • Report on an examination of the condition of a calf inspected by the learner.
    • Describe calf husbandry techniques observed by the learner, including - Earmarking; Castration; Dehorning; Branding; Tattooing; Drenching.
    • Compare natural calf rearing techniques with artificial calf rearing techniques.
    • Determine the appropriate method of calf rearing for a specified property.
    • List the criteria which need to be satisfied in the design of calf housing facilities, in the learner's locality.
    • Compare the suitability of different building materials for calf housing facilities, in different climates.
    • Analyse calf housing facilities on a specified property in order to determine the appropriateness of their design.
    • Prepare a design for a calf housing facility, including - A sketch/concept plan; A description of materials; An estimate of cost.
    • Explain the stages of weaning a calf on a property with which the learner is familiar.
    • List the possible problems which may arise in weaning calves.
    • Recommend suitable treatments for the weaning problems.
    • Explain the stages of post weaning for a normal calf on a property with which the learner is familiar.
    • List the problems which may arise with calves during the post-weaning period.
    • Explain any variations that may be applied to the procedure of post-weaning a calf.


    What Cattle Eat

    Cattle are ruminants, and as such can eat and digest a lot more fibre than non-ruminants.

    Nutrition and feeding

    Cattle need six basic components:

      Different types of feeds will contain different quantities of these various components. There are many different types of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals and vitamins. Some of these are essential, others may not be essential. Different feed components will serve different functions in cattle. Protein is especially important for young, growing cattle and for animals that are producing milk or meat.

      Cattle require a number of minerals for optimal growth and reproduction. Often the significance of a minor mineral deficiency may be obscured by other more serious, problems such as lack of protein. Minerals essential to cattle nutrition are classified as “macro minerals” or “micro minerals” depending on whether they are found at levels greater than or less than 100 parts per million (ppm) in the animal’s body. Calcium, phosphorus and salt are most likely to be the most limiting macro minerals in cattle diets. Most deficiencies are related to copper, zinc and selenium, but other mineral deficiencies can occur. A good quality cattle mineral block that is palatable is one way to provide appropriate minerals to your herd.

      Vitamins are essential, organic compounds that are needed in very small amounts in the cattle diet. Though only needed in tiny amounts, their omission can have a big impact. Groups of different vitamins also work together. For example, Vitamins A, D and C influence bone formation. Vitamins A, B, D and E effect growth while Vitamin C and A are associated with resistance to infection. Deficiencies of Vitamin A and E can cause sterility.

      Cattle like all animals require a constant supply of fresh, clean water.



      Bloat is a digestive disorder which is characterised by a build-up of gas in the rumen and reticulum. Bloat occurs in both sheep and cattle however it is usually more severe in cattle. Gas production is a normal part of the microbial fermentation in the ruminant digestive process. The gas is usually belched up or passed through the gastrointestinal tract. If the however the gas is prevented from escaping.

      It occurs when cattle are fed on forage which are low in fibre and high in protein, such as immature legume pastures.
      Bloat can occur in calves as well as in full grown cattle.
      Signs of bloat include:

        Death occurs when the swollen rumen compresses the surrounding organs such as the lungs, interfering with breathing and obstructs blood flow.  


        ENROL TODAY!
        Just go to the top of this page for pricing and enrolment options. If you have any questions you can contact us now, by:
        Phone (UK) 01384 44272, (International) +44 (0) 1384 442752, or

        Email us at [email protected]