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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

There are many things dairy producers do every day to keep cows healthy and productive, but there may be nothing more important than focusing on the first two hours when a calf is born.

A recent article in the Journal of Dairy Science evaluated factors affecting passive transfer in heifer calves and how this related to the time of first insemination.

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Consistent nutrient content delivered at the desired temperature and appropriate time leads to better performance in preweaned calves.

Field studies of calf feeding systems using waste milk on dairies and calf ranches in the U.S. found that fat content varied from 1.1 percent to more than 4.5 percent, though protein content was less variable.

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As the weather gets cooler, often with large temperature swings between night and day, calf feeding programs need to be adjusted.

Maintenance requirements must be met for growth and development; however, ensuring strong growth has been linked to improved performance (earlier breeding and increased milk yield).

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After more than 55 years of focused research on colostrum, we have collectively agreed upon the fact that colostrum is beneficial, even vital, due to its role in passive transfer of immunoglobulins.

However, the story of colostrum continues to evolve with recent research, indicating that there is far more to colostrum than immunoglobulins.

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Sixty years ago, Dr. Virginia Apgar developed a simple method to evaluate the well-being of a newborn child at birth. Used worldwide, this assessment is performed within minutes of birth using nothing more than a stethoscope and a clock.

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The developing horns of dairy calves are typically removed to reduce the risk of injuries to farm workers or other cattle later in life. Horns of calves 3 months old or older are normally removed surgically (“dehorning”) by scooping, shearing or sawing. Horn buds of younger calves are typically removed (“disbudding”) using a caustic paste or a hot iron.

There is scientific evidence that all of these methods cause immediate pain and post-operative pain. The immediate pain can be reduced using a local anesthetic to provide a nerve block – this procedure has been used safely for decades and costs just pennies a shot.

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