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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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Negative energy balance (NEB) is a physiological challenge the Holstein dairy cow faces in the early postpartum period when dietary energy intake cannot meet with energy output in milk. Infectious diseases commonly seen are retained placenta, metritis and mastitis, which are consequences of depressed immunity and NEB. Metabolic disorders may include ketosis, displaced abomasum and fatty liver.

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What causes calf scours? As new calves arrive, so does the threat of the common condition known as calf scours or neonatal calf diarrhea. Infectious agents such as viruses and bacteria cause this condition. These agents have the common property of causing a net loss of water and electrolytes from the calf’s body via the gut. This causes potentially life-threatening dehydration and electrolyte imbalances that can easily result in death. The main infectious organisms that can cause diarrhea in calves are:

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The goal for management when feeding dairy replacement heifers is to produce high-quality replacement heifers at a low cost. It is difficult to detail all of the business and biological aspects of developing information-based quality control management programs for dairy replacements in this article; therefore, the following key control points will be offered.

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It is always easier to achieve a goal when working with biology, rather than against it. By taking advantage of important characteristics of bacterial growth, we can better achieve our goal of feeding clean colostrum.

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Diseases caused by mycoplasma continue to emerge and remain frustrating to all segments of the dairy industry. In cows, several species of mycoplasma can cause mastitis, pneumonia, arthritis, abortion, and other disease syndromes. Mycoplasma bovis is the most common cause of mycoplasma mastitis and is one of the leading causes of contagious mastitis. In young stock, mycoplasma may cause a variety of disease syndromes as early as two to three weeks after birth.

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Treatments for diarrhea caused by disease-causing organisms is a big deal to all calf raisers. It seems that we spend a tremendous amount of our time dealing with baby calves, working to feed them appropriate amounts of colostrum, keeping them isolated from organisms that may cause scours and, occasionally, treating those that do develop disease.

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