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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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I have been fascinated with calf barn ventilation for more than a decade, to the point where I have made its study the focus of much of my professional career. Calf raisers around the world often have the same questions when it comes to ventilation, and this article will discuss the three most common calf barn ventilation questions I receive. 

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The words “essential oil” can elicit a strong emotional response. For some this may be positive, and for others it may carry a negative connotation equivalent to that of “snake oil.”

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The decision to feed whole milk or milk replacer to newborn calves continues to be a controversial topic among producers.

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Keeping calves warm in winter is good for calves and good for the farm. Calves that are not cold stressed are healthier and more productive throughout their lives.

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Thousands of dollars are invested in every heifer from the point of birth to her first calving. With this in mind, a 100-cow dairy will invest nearly $112,000 a year, and a 1,000-cow dairy will put down over a million dollars. Due to these investments, only the right heifers should be selected to serve as herd replacements.

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It’s common knowledge that feeding adequate volumes of high-quality colostrum benefits the health and growth of the calf. It’s also known that calves that receive good-quality colostrum right after birth carry those benefits throughout their lives as heifers and even into the lactating herd. Therefore, it makes good sense to emphasize protocols that lead to the development and management of high-quality colostrum.

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