Factors influencing calf morbidity and mortality in smallholder dairy farms in Kiambu District of Kenya
Toews, D. Waltner
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Patterns of calf morbidity and mortality were examined for 78 of 90 randomly selected smallholder dairy farms in Kiambu District, Kenya that had at least one calf during the 12 months between July 1991 and June 1992. Overall, 201 calves (104 males and 97 females) were observed on at least one visit. The crude calf morbidity and mortality rates were 27% and 22% per year, respectively. Diarrhoea was the most common cause of morbidity and mortality. Factors associated with calf morbidity and mortality were studied via multiple logistic regression models stratified by the dairy society. The only risk factor associated with calf morbidity was calf age. Morbidity rates for calves from 1 and 3 months (4% per month) and greater than 5 months (3% per month) were higher than for calves less than 1 month or 4 and 5 months of age (both 1% per month). Increased calf mortality was associated with prior clinical illness (crude risk rate 8.2; P=0.000), lower red blood cell count (P=0.006), and feeding of grain concentrate (P=0.028). Feeding mineral was associated with lower mortality (P=0.016).