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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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No matter which type of calf housing system you use, it’s easy to let your ventilation system get stale. Proper ventilation can have a major impact on calf health and well-being.

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Many agree raising quality, healthy heifers is one of the most important goals for any dairy producer. It is surprising, though, that most discussion regarding heifer raising immediately gravitates toward cost.

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Bovine respiratory disease (BRD) causes significant economic losses in dairies across the U.S. While vaccination is available and necessary, it isn’t always effective. Delivering trace minerals via injection, in conjunction with BRD vaccinations, can potentially enhance the immune response and increase vaccination success.

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Protein and amino acids are the most expensive nutrients for raising young calves and heifers. For the growing calf and heifer, protein can be supplied in several different ways. The animal’s stage of life, relative to ruminal development for it becoming a functional ruminant, dictates the types and amounts of protein and amino acids that are of benefit for growth, health and ruminal maturation.

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I do not need to convince dairymen that milk is the most nutritionally complete food source, but I would like to make the point here that milk does not always provide adequate supplies of vitamins and minerals to the young calf.

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Building the right calf barn may mean looking outside the dairy industry for inspiration. For Dave Endres, owner of Endres Jazzy Jerseys, a 900-cow Jersey dairy in Lodi, Wisconsin, this meant borrowing the all-in, all-out style commonly seen in hog operations.

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