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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.

LATEST

Your replacement heifers are your next generation of milking cows. Take care of them.

With the intense focus on cow comfort, we all know that milking cows need comfortable barns, adequate space, appropriate nutrition and a watchful, attentive eye to ensure consistency and identify issues before they cause problems.

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Each day, multiple times a day, you carefully calculate the amount of milk replacer and calf starter you feed each calf. But what about after weaning? What if you place the same level of focus on heifers 24 weeks and older?

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You’ve probably heard or read it 100 times or more – cows love consistency.

Numerous research studies and on-farm experiences show dairy cows perform better with day-to-day sameness in their care and routines – the way they are milked, the stalls they lie in, the number of hours they rest and even the number of times they drink water.

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As I look at thousands of calving records every month for dairies ranging in size from 100 to 5,000 cows, one thing that is consistent among almost all of them is the wide range of ages that springing heifers calve.

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Puberty in dairy heifers can be defined as a measurable increase in blood progesterone with the presence of a corpus luteum (CL) on an ovary, and heifers begin actively cycling. Dairy heifers reach puberty at a defined stage of maturity (45 to 50 percent of mature size) rather than a certain age.

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Dairy managers and consultants focus on feeding and managing the lactating and dry dairy herd. This is logical since mistakes become readily apparent in substantial lost income, increased expenses or poor use of resources. The primary focus is directed toward providing the resources and working environment.

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