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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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It can be debated whether heifers are the most low-maintenance group on the dairy. The truth is they can be low maintenance, if we give them the right start. Healthy heifers come from healthy calves and they become productive cows when we give them the tools they need at the right time.

Start your heifer health protocol as soon as they are born. Calving pens should be cleaned after each cow gives birth to reduce opportunity of disease transmission. After a cow has calved, don’t wait to milk the recently fresh cow with the animals in the hospital or fresh pens.

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Researchers have been active in the area of calf early life nutrition and precision feeding older heifers. Higher nutritional levels early and controlled energy, especially post-breeding, have resulted in improved health and performance with lower cost and environmental waste.

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Pasteurizing whole milk has reduced the risk of infection in people and, doubtless, saved millions of lives all over the world. The word “pasteurizing” comes from the name of the inventor, Louis Pasteur, who invented the method of heating milk to kill pathogens and improve human health.

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Pneumonia causes the second-highest number of cases of illness and death in young dairy calves, taking a back seat only to scours. Animals that do survive cases of calfhood pneumonia are likely to face a lifetime of diminished performance in the milking string.

Research shows that replacement heifers experiencing pneumonia in the first 3 months of life are more likely to:

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The most costly area of management on a dairy farm after feeding is raising or purchasing replacements. Beginning with the newborn calf, all the way to the freshening first-calf heifer, having replacements ready to enter the herd is a necessary part of the dairy’s herd cycle, and they represent the future of the dairy’s profit potential.

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Understanding the basic concepts of growth helps improve calf and heifer management. Early postnatal growth is the most efficient time to develop skeletal growth, muscle growth, deposit protein and attain the highest feed efficiency.

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