Characterisation of dairy female calf management practices in southern Chile


  • Paula Toro-Mujica
  • Ricardo Gebauer
  • Karen Tajonar
  • Juan P. Keim
  • Einar Vargas-Bello-Pérez



calves, dairy, health, nutrition, production


The objective of this study was to characterise husbandry and technical-productive practices at the calf rearing stage in dairy farms in Los Lagos Region, southern Chile. A face-to-face survey was applied to 22 dairy farms in Los Lagos Region in 2017. All farms performed artificial calf rearing under either of two systems: total barn confinement (48%) or a mixed system that considers the first stage with confinement and the second stage in open-air paddocks (52%). More than half (52%) of the farms supplied fresh colostrum to the calf from its dam and the rest of the farms used bottle or oesophageal tube. Only 30% of the farms evaluated colostrum quality using colostrometer (densimeter) or refractometer. After the colostrum supply, milk replacers, waste milk, or a mixture of both were used for calf feeding. Most of the farms (66.7%) did not have automated milk-feeding systems and used bottles (88.9%) and buckets (11.1%) instead. On average, calves were handled by 1.5 caretakers (SD: 0.63) of which 63.4% (SD: 40.2) were men. The average age for caretakers was 43.9 years (SD: 12.7), with 23.8% being less than 35 years old. Overall, results from this study can be used to identify key managements that could improve calves’ rearing productive traits.


Download data is not yet available.




How to Cite

Toro-Mujica, P., Gebauer, R. ., Tajonar, K., Keim, J. P. ., & Vargas-Bello-Pérez, E. (2022). Characterisation of dairy female calf management practices in southern Chile. Austral Journal of Veterinary Sciences, 54(3), 103–114.



Original article