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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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On average, only 36 percent of calf raisers in the U.S. weigh calves to determine rate of gain. Since rate of gain can provide valuable insight into how well your calf program is working, many dairy producers and calf raisers are missing a valuable opportunity.

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The most successful calf programs begin with this end objective in mind: healthy, productive animals ready to enter the milking string in a timely fashion.

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Heifers are a fundamental part of the dairy operation. They are the future of the herd, and an important aspect of their development is to get them pregnant on time, calve in good condition and make a positive return.

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Four calf care experts came together to provide practical information for dairy producers to further enhance their calf- and heifer-raising programs during a panel presentation on April 6 at the Canadian Dairy XPO in Stratford, Ontario.

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Recently, it has become common practice to feed calves using an automatic milk feeder, which offers the ability to feed higher volumes of milk. Despite this prevalence, many questions about automatic feeding practices remain unanswered.

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When we talk about calf barn ventilation, there are as many ventilation options out there as there are calf facilities. Many people promote positive-pressure tube ventilation, while others suggest tunnel or cross ventilation, and some claim that outdoor calf hutches are still the best way to go.

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