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CALVES & HEIFERS

The future of your herd depends on quality colostrum, sound milk replacer or pasteurized waste milk along with proper bedding and ventilation.

LATEST

Understanding the basic principles of calf barn ventilation is essential in evaluating the many different ventilation options available today. There is no single ventilation system that will work for every situation because each calf barn is unique in its structure and layout.

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Recent research done at the University of Guelph identified over 26 percent of male calves had a significantly enlarged navel with heat, pain, moisture or malodorous discharge when examined at arrival to a veal facility.

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On average, dairies lose 5 to 15 percent of their calves in the first three weeks of life due to scours, making it the number one killer of calves. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. With the right tools and protocols, it is possible to maintain less than a 1.5 percent death loss in these young calves.

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Calf management programs have traditionally focused on calf survival and treatment rates. Traditional feeding strategies involved restricting the amount of milk or milk replacer offered to the calf to encourage grain intake in an effort to accelerate weaning, reduce the potential for scours and other illness, and reduce the cost of feeding and management.

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In our previous article, “Colostrum, transition milk and maternal impact: There’s still a lot to learn,” we discussed the overwhelming amount of information left to be uncovered in regard to the newborn dairy calf and colostrum management.

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In this day and age, producers are great at making heifers. Reproductive and calf raising management practices have dramatically improved through the years, resulting in an abundance of replacement heifers. The benefit of that is we have plenty of animals to keep operations full and have the genetically best heifers possible.

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