An improved stomach tube has won an award at New Zealand’s National Agricultural Fieldays, one of the Southern Hemisphere’s largest annual agribusiness exhibitions.

The TrustiTuber, from Antahi Innovations Limited, is designed to reduce to close-to-impossible the chance of the tube entering the calf’s airway.

Instead of being inserted by hand, the tube is fed through a mouthpiece to more gently find the correct route to safely enter the calf’s oesophagus.

The combination of mouthpiece, soft flexible tube, specially designed safety tip and calf size markers is designed for maximum calf comfort, calf safety, and usability during tube feeding.

When in position, the tube will flex with the calf, avoiding any painful pressure points and injury.

A guard sits comfortably against the calf’s nose, held in place by the user, or strapped around the calf’s head.

Waikato veterinary surgeon Ursula Haywood and husband Mark aimed to make what is essentially a veterinary, medical procedure easier for calves and for farmers.

They put two years of research, trialling, and perfecting into the product.

A common on-farm procedure, tube feeding is used to administer electrolytes to sick calves, or to feed additional colostrum.

Many feeding tubes are rigid and unyielding, and can injure the delicate tissue of the calf’s throat and oesophagus — which can explain why some farmers report tube-fed calves to be slower to suckle at the next feed.

And the calf can drown, if the tube is wrongly directed toward the lungs.


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