Healthy Calves with Smart Calf System

The SMART CALF SYSTEM offers unique advantages:
• Significantly lower medication and treatment costs thanks to early diagnosis of diseases
• Better animal observation through LED display on collar
• Easy control with mobile devices and PCs
• Better milk digestion by imitating the natural udder butting  movements 
• Ease of work and time saving through Auto-Learn-Function
• Reduced risk of infection thanks to fully automatic circuit cleaning including the suction hoses

The system consists of three main components, the Activity Box, the Smart Neckband and the Smart Water Station. The data flows via the Internet-based CalfCloud together with the information from the feeding machine. From the overall evaluation, the system provides information on technical processes, the development status of calves and possible disease risks. Signal and control functions support the practical work.

The Activity Box is equipped with a teat that can be moved on two axes. This enables the calf to carry out its natural udder butting behavior. An integrated activity sensor registers the udder butting movements. A new parameter is thus recorded that supports the early detection of disorders of well-being (stress) and increased disease risks. The Auto-LEarn-Function supports the training of young calves after they have been transferred to the group. When playing with the teat, calves that are only in the group for a few days are given a small amount of milk. Without a worker having to take care of it, the calves quickly learn how to use the drinking station.

The Smart Neckband is a collar with an activity sensor and an LED signal light. By measuring the activity, conclusions can be drawn about the development and health status of the calf. The operator receives appropriate messages on the feeder and/or an external device such as a PC, tablet or smartphone. Since the system is browser-based, it does not matter which hardware or operating system is used. The signal light is controlled via the CalfCloud. Animals can be displayed individually or in groups, such as alarm animals, animals with drinking rights, animals with an increased risk of disease, etc.

When activated, the light on the collar flashes clearly and visibly. An essential advantage is the possibility to look for and observe animals without having to go into the group. This makes it easier to assess the calf's state of health without spreading unnecessary stress in the group. In addition, the light has a magnetic switch to confirm activity directly on the animal. This helps, for example, when training, changing boxes or treating individual calves. 

The Smart Water Station is used for individual recording of water intake. This is closely related to the development of the gastroesophageal vestibule. The increase in water intake above a certain level and in a short time is a sure sign of the incipient ruminant digestion. By contrast, changes in the frequency and quantity of drinking per drinking event provide indications of upcoming health disorders. From this, it is possible to derive an individual weaning according to the developmental status of the animal. This avoids stress and growth depression, which occurs again and again during the age-dependent drinking of whole groups in individual animals. 

The Smart Water Station can also be used after weaning and can provide valuable information and signals in the rearing of young cattle. So far, there are only a few objective tools available in operational practice to assess the health and development of animals.