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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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The three critical periods in a calf’s life are around calving, which includes the cow and colostrum management, the first two weeks of life when most deaths occur, and the two weeks before and after weaning. The first two critical periods have been addressed in a previous article, 3 critical periods in a calf’s life: The first and second.

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What’s your dairy cow’s milkfat content? It’s an easy question, right? You likely have milkfat records from generations on your farm and could readily explain how your milk components have changed over the years or pinpoint what management and feeding practices caused reductions or increases in milkfat.

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From birth, calves’ naïve immune systems are assaulted by challenges: new environments, fast diet transitions, exposure to disease and sometimes transportation and commingling. That makes it no surprise the dairy industry continues to battle pre-weaning losses.

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Over the last 10 years, the dairy industry has shown an increased interest in early life feeding programs for calves, spurred in part by several studies and meta-analyses illustrating the potential effect of greater pre-weaning average daily gain on future milk production.

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I read mixing directions on a milk replacer tag recently, and it said “mix at 15% solids” which seems simple enough. But what does “15% solids” mean? Is it 15% by weight or 15% by volume?

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Day in and day out, dairy farmers provide the best in animal husbandry. There are occasions when animals get sick and need antimicrobial therapy to overcome a specific disease challenge.

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