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Calves & Heifers

The future of your herd depends on quality colostrum, milk or replacer feeding and disease control along with proper bedding, sanitation and ventilation.

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Raising heifers can be a challenging business, especially when you’re doing it for someone else. Not only do you have young, vulnerable calves to raise, you have calves with the added stress of being shipped from the dairy to your operation, and you need to make sure you pick up right where they left off.

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Abomasal bloat is a condition commonly found in the dairy and beef industries, but certain situations have increased the number of these cases in young calves in the past five to 10 years.

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What sets farms with great calf health apart from those that struggle to get calves started? Sanitation. It is a bigger investment of time than money and is certainly near the top of the list of important criteria for getting calves off to a good start.

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Many dairies and calf ranches report show-stopping results for growth and health when raising calves on whole milk. In fact, nearly half of all dairy calves raised in the U.S. are fed a ration containing whole milk during at least part of the pre-weaning stage.

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Old dairy barns can look pretty attractive for baby calves. They are “warmer” than hutches and protect the calves as well as the caretakers from the elements. While this might be true, take the time to work through the answers to a few questions before you renovate to ensure the barn will provide a good environment for your calves.

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Feed and labor. These are usually the two biggest items on dairy producers’ minds when they think about their cost of production. What they might not think about as often is the cost of replacement heifers. Between feed, labor, production, capital and overhead costs, herd owners have reported spending between $1,533 and $2,628 for each heifer raised.

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