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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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A busy postmortem room is a very exciting, entreating environment. It is also an important diagnostic tool for a practitioner and a dairy farmer.

I remember a case coming from a large dairy farm in the U.S. Northeast. The calves were kept in hutches, and they were given milk replacer with fluids.

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To maintain a profitable business model and maximize productivity, producers need to be highly efficient with available resources. In today’s dairy industry, high genetic potential in heifers is one of the most rewarding resource investments.

However, the capability to take advantage of replacement heifer potential is not always straightforward. It is an area where critical aspects may not be considered. This leads to many producers taking two steps forward and one step backward.

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Protection against infections among young calves is directly related to antibody levels in their blood.

Using serum from a blood sample, we can estimate circulating antibody levels in young calves.

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Respiratory disease in calves continues to be an issue dairy producers are dealing with. According to the National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) Dairy 2007 study, respiratory disease was the second leading cause of death in unweaned heifers and the single-largest cause of weaned heifer deaths.

And, more often than not, poor ventilation is the root cause of the respiratory issue.

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Scientists have long known that the nutrition and management of a pregnant female has direct effects on the health and growth of the fetus and the baby.

Some work at Southampton University in England showed that human mothers who were malnourished during the first half of their pregnancy had children with an increased incidence of health problems as adults, including diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease.

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Some producers are good at getting calves out alive, and some are not.

Good calving technique is not something you learn in school, it is something you learn by experience – and it is always better to learn from someone else’s experience.

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