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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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A common goal of any dairy farmer is to grow healthy calves that can express their full genetic potential in the parlor. But, for all calves to become high-producing cows, they must have a successful transition from a milk-based diet to a grain and forage-based diet.

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Scours – it’s an unwelcome but far too common problem on many dairies today. Thanks to education and development of new products, tremendous strides have been made in reducing the severity and number of calves lost due to the main causes of calf scours.

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Conventional wisdom has told us we should house dairy calves individually to prevent nose-to-nose contact and control spread of disease. Calf hutches have been viewed as the “gold standard” for calf rearing.

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There are many topics to discuss when managing heifer inventory. Producers give careful thought to feed and labor costs, reproduction, semen strategies, etc. – the list can go on and on.

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How does one know when to breed virgin heifers? On many dairies, the decision is entirely subjective based on if the heifers look “big” enough, reach a certain age, or the pen is getting crowded and they need to move on.

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Raising replacement heifers is the second-greatest cost on a dairy farm, and these animals will dictate the future success of the enterprise. To ensure future productive success, many considerations should be evaluated in terms of the liquid diet fed to young pre-weaned calves, especially when the liquid diet consists of whole or waste milk.

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