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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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Would it surprise you that a critical difference between success and failure in raising calves is the attitude of the people taking care of the calves? How we view the calves and how we view our time are critical to success of the calf operation because they impact calf performance.

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I doubt that anyone would deny we are living in an age of disruption. Successful dairy managers do not just “respond” to the current situation; they anticipate the impact of future “disruptors” and are proactive. Strict adherence to what has been successful in the past may mean “failure” in the future.

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When it comes to ensuring the future success of a dairy operation, raising good replacement animals is essential. One of the most crucial steps in this process is colostrum management.

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The future of a dairy farmer’s herd is dependent on the health and care calves receive as newborns. Ensuring a strong immune system buildup in the first few weeks of life is imperative to the animal’s longevity and overall herd success.

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While there seems to be general agreement on the benefit of having heifers calve at 24 months of age, according to 2014 National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) data, it’s not happening.

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The importance of maintaining proper hydration in animals is widely understood; it has been instilled in us as a fundamental component to calf raising and maintaining life. However, oral rehydration electrolyte solutions (ORES) have walked the path of tradition for decades. The World Health Organization recommends salt, sugar, potassium and chloride be components of an ORES. Mix it with water and voila! Seemingly, the only real assessment to gauge the effectiveness of an ORES supplement required simply checking the box next to one question, “Did they drink it?”

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