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Herd Health

Find information about mastitis, transition cows, vaccination protocols, working with your veterinarian, hoof care and hoof trimming.

LATEST

The postpartum dairy cow is at high risk of disease and requires ample access to feed and rest. Despite this, a newly fresh cow faces many management and housing changes after calving. In a study we recently conducted at Aarhus University’s cattle facility in Foulum, Denmark, we asked if keeping the group size small in the fresh pen reduces competition for feed and freestalls, and improves dairy cow welfare during this sensitive time.

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When making culling decisions on a dairy, four things should be considered: animal welfare, food safety, public perception and economics. With each individual situation, one of these items may slightly outweigh another, but all four are important before deciding to treat, cull from the herd or humanely euthanize an animal. Treatment and animal care protocols and records are crucial to make informed, responsible decisions.

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Michael Jordan had Gatorade, our children have PediaSure, but what about our cows? The creek, a pond, an automatic waterer? Dairy cow hydration is especially critical for production and reproduction, and effective management is more than just making sure there’s water in the tank.

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The ideal dairy stall is clean, dry and comfortable. Yet when it comes to keeping moisture and pathogens at bay, many stalls fall short. Whether you’re bedding on organic or inorganic material, optimizing stalls for maximum cow health and comfort is critical for producing quality milk.

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As we move past tail docking, down cows and the handling of dairy cattle on our farms, there are a number of other welfare concerns emerging for us to address in the near future. These issues are voiced by consumers through social media, open discussion with food marketers and are often amplified by animal activism groups.

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We’ve all seen them, and most of us are probably guilty of ignoring them at one point or another. I’m referring to fans so coated in dust and other organic material you wonder how they still spin and, if they are off, you can only imagine the cloud that will be blown into the air when they do eventually start up.

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