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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

Houses. Relationships. Businesses. What do all three have in common? They all are built from a solid foundation, and calf hutches are no different.

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When it comes to raising calves, Mohomed Elsheikh, DVM, feed department and calf manager at North Florida Holsteins, a 6,000-cow dairy in Bell, Florida, believes that proper management is the key to their success.

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Since dairy calves are born immune-deficient, successful passive transfer of immunoglobulin G (IgG) is essential to protecting calves from any disease challenges they encounter early in life. Successful passive transfer of IgG is defined as when the blood IgG concentration of the calf is equal to or greater than 10 milligrams of IgG per milliliter from 1 to 7 days old.

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Keeping calves alive means you have a successful calf-raising program, right? While it’s true that low mortality is a critical metric, in today’s economic environment many other parameters contribute to calf-raising success.

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It’s one of those moments on the dairy that makes all the stress and worry dissipate. As the still damp newborn heifer tries once, twice and finally succeeds on the third attempt to stand, there’s an overwhelming feeling of hope and optimism for the future.

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Bovine respiratory disease (BRD) in both pre- and post-weaned calves can be a major challenge. The latest National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) study conducted in 2014 found 11.3% of enrolled pre-weaned dairy calves showed clinical signs of BRD, of which 88% were treated with an antibiotic.

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