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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

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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Drafts and pre-weaned calves – rarely is a topic so misunderstood. Many calf raisers are uncomfortable with the topic of drafts on calves, regardless of the outside temperature. Most people believe drafts are to be avoided at all costs.

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Feeding calves high rates of milk replacer is common practice in many parts of the U.S. High milk replacer feeding rates have resulted in increased pre-weaning average daily gain (ADG). Improved feed efficiency has also been observed, most likely due to the greater digestibility of liquid feed compared to calf starter.

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