Be careful with bobby calves and restricted veterinary medicines (RVM), including dry cow therapy

  • Calves treated directly with antibiotics must NOT be submitted for slaughter as bobby calves.
  • If a pregnant cow is treated with an RVM and calves before the meat withhold has ended, the calf cannot be sent to slaughter until the cow’s meat withholding period has elapsed.
  • If a bobby calf or a pen of bobby calves is accidentally fed milk from a cow treated with an RVM, and that milk is still within the withholding period, then those calves are no longer suitable to be bobby calves and the 91 day meat withholding period applies.
  • Medicated milk replacers, containing coccidiostats or other medicines, must not be fed to bobby calves.

In herds where dry cow therapy (DCT) has been used:

  • The interval between treatment of the cow and birth of the calf must be longer than the milk withhold of the dry cow product e.g. 49 days for Cepravin, to make it suitable to feed to bobby calves.
  • If a pregnant cow is treated with an DCT and calves before the meat withhold has ended, the calf cannot be sent to slaughter until the cow’s meat withholding period has elapsed.
  • The colostrum collected during the colostrum withholding period (+8 milkings) is fine to feed to bobby calves AS LONG AS the milk withhold of the dry cow product has elapsed.
  • If the cow calves outside of the milk withholding period e.g. over 49 days for Cepravin – the colostrum and milk may be fed to bobby calves.
  • If the cow calves inside the milk withholding period e.g. before 49 days has elapsed since Cepravin treatment, this colostrum/milk should NOT be fed to bobby calves.
  • If this accidentally occurs, a default meat withholding period of 91 days is applied to that calf – meaning it can no longer be sent as a bobby. This animal should be raised as a beef animal or humanely euthanised on farm.

    Please note: The “7 day clean milk rule” was an industry guideline only, and should not be used. It will not manage the risk in all cases.




    Date Added: Tuesday, 2nd June 2020


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