Major Causes of Calf Morbidity and Mortality in Smallholder Dairy Farms in Shashemene Town, Ethiopia

Abdela Edao(Oromia Agricultural Research Institute, Adam Tulu Agricultural Research Center, Batu, Ethiopia)
Abdurahman Meribo(Shashemane Livestock and Fishery resources development Bureau, Ethiopia)

Article ID: 375


A cross-sectional study was conducted to determine the major causes of calf morbidity and mortality in smallholder dairy farms and associated potential risk factors in Shashemene. A total of 187 calves from 46 farms were included in the present study. The overall crude morbidity and crude mortality rates were 27.8% and 6.4%, respectively. The most frequent disease syndrome was diarrhea with incidence rate of 28(15%) followed by pneumonia 8(4.3%), Gastrointestinal tract (GIT) disorder 8(4.3%) and septicemia 5(2.7%). In addition skin lesion, navel ill and unidentified cases were encountered. The main causes of death were diarrhea 6(3.2%), Septicemia 2(1.1%), GIT disorder 2(1.1%), pneumonia 1(0.5%) and others 1(0.5%). The most important risk factors associated with morbidity and mortality were housing hygiene, floor condition and calf size in farm. Out of 187 calves examined for GIT parasites; 63(33.3%) were positive for nematode eggs. Prevalence of helminthes parasite increased with increasing age, showing higher prevalence (P<0.05) in calves above 2 months than in calves below 2 months of age. Besides, majority of the calves, 48(25.7%) were found positive for coccidian oocyst. In general; diarrhea, pneumonia and septicemia were the major causes of calf morbidity and mortality. Interms of risk factors housing hygiene, floor condition, calf size in the farms, age and breed were identified major role players. Therefore, identifying major causes and improving management practices and breed should be given to emphasis by advisory of smallholder dairy farms.


Morbidity; Mortality; Smallholder; Dairy; Farms; Shashemene

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