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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.

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I have been fascinated with calf barn ventilation for more than a decade, to the point where I have made its study the focus of much of my professional career.

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Calves can cross-suck on each other not only when housed in pairs or groups, but also when housed individually with contact through pen dividers.

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Thousands of dollars are invested in every heifer from the point of birth to her first calving. With this in mind, a 100-cow dairy will invest nearly $140,000 a year.

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Note: These tips are in response to a question posed on the Progressive Dairy Twitter account. To submit questions for future Ask a Vet columns, please email inquiries to the editor, with subject, “Ask a Vet.”

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Current farming operations often experience a broad set of challenges that can be difficult to mitigate. On dairy farms specifically, calf morbidity and mortality continues to be a prevalent issue that can result in short- and long-term consequences for calf health and farm success.

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Many on-farm management factors are important for the development of healthy, productive heifers and among them are the consumption of nutrients preweaning. Research regarding the preweaned calf remains largely focused on health and rumen development. A third topic is emerging, and that revolves around the provision of protein and amino acids.

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