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Italian and Polish guides on mother-bonded and fostered calf-rearing published

Cover: Allattamento naturale dei vitelli con la madre o una balia negli allevamenti di bovini da latte

Cover: Ochów cieląt przy matkach i krowach mamkach w ekologicznym stadzie bydła mlecznego

In mother-bonded or fostered calf rearing the cows and the calves can experience a close and natural relationship.

Two new language editions of the guide on mother-bonded and fostered calf-rearing in dairy farming were produced in the framework of the ProYoungStock project. Presently, the guides are only available for download.

The proper rearing of calves in dairy herds is one of the most important issues determining the economic efficiency and animal welfare in milk production. For this reason, methods of rearing calves that allow calves to stay with their mothers or foster cows for a longer period are becoming increasingly popular among breeders.

Allowing a closer relationship between the mother and her offspring improves animal welfare and results in increased health and weight gain of the calves during the suckling phase as well as in a better development after weaning. On the other hand, mother-bonded or fostered calf rearing requires certain organisational changes in the herd and the acceptance of having less milk for sale.

The guides describe the natural relationship between the cow and her calf and draw conclusions for possible implementations on the farm and for the welfare of the calves. Furthermore, they describe different methods of mother-bonded or fostered calf rearing developed by farmers and their experiences. Numerous suggestions for the implementation of mother-bonded calf rearing in other farms are also provided.

Both guides were produced with contributions from partners of the ProYoungStock project (, a CORE Organic Cofund project coordinated by FiBL.

Further information


Anet Spengler