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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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090612_dehydrated

When calves become ill, more often than not, they are also dehydrated. Hydration is an important process to help cure the calf and get the animal back on track.

Veterinarian Matt Boyle, Zoetis Dairy Technical Services, provided some tips on how to hydrate calves at the Vita Plus Chick Day in August 2012. At the time, Boyle was a veterinarian at Freeport Veterinary Service in Freeport, Minnesota.

First of all, treatment should depend on the condition of the calf. Click here to download a table to aid in assessment.

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Often overlooked, water is the most important nutrient for dairy calves. It is required for all of life’s processes including the transport, digestion and metabolism of nutrients, the elimination of waste materials and excess heat from the body, and the maintenance of a proper fluid-ion balance in the body.

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If you haven’t already planned for managing heat stress in calves this summer, there’s no time to waste. Just like cows, calves are susceptible to heat stress at higher temperatures, which can affect both health and performance.

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On average, dairies lose 5 to 15 percent of their calves in the first three weeks of life due to scours, making it the number one killer of calves. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. With the right tools and protocols, it is possible to maintain less than a 1.5 percent death loss in these young calves.

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Are your calves healthy? How do you know? You probably have a general picture of calf health on your farm, but putting pen to paper and tracking the numbers can give you accurate data to watch trends and make changes quickly.

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In the current economic climate, dairy farmers are looking to increase efficiency across their business and reduce costs. Although it is viewed as a small portion of the dairy enterprise, nearly 20 percent of the production costs incurred on a dairy are attributed to raising replacement heifers.

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