Calf care checklist: 5 tips for winter management

Posted on January 24, 2023 in
By Bethany Dado-Senn, Ph.D. | Of all the animals on your dairy farm, calves are the most susceptible to cold stress and require the most attention when facing winter weather. Fortunately, these tools can help you efficiently and strategically keep calves warm throughout the winter months.

Calf care checklist: 5 steps to stay ahead of a colostrum slump

Posted on October 19, 2022 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
Dr. Bethany Dado-Senn | If your farm has a seasonal decrease in colostrum production across the late-fall and early-winter months, the following proactive steps can help you maintain a constant supply of high-quality colostrum for your valuable replacement herd.

Veterinarian’s corner: Dairy beef respiratory vaccine strategies

Posted on October 19, 2022 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
Dr. Trey Gellert | One-day-old dairy beef calves need to be set up for long-term success. Starting these calves with the end goal in mind will lead to mutually beneficial relationship for the producer and calf. In this second article of a two-part series on vaccinations, we discuss dairy beef respiratory vaccine protocols.

VIDEO: Calf chat with Lucas – 3 critical components of fly control

Posted on July 28, 2022 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
In this edition of Calf Chat, Dr. Lucas Mitchell shares the three critical components of an integrated pest management (IPM) plan to reduce flies - and the stress and disease they can cause - in your youngstock operation.

Expert’s corner: Mitigating heat stress in youngstock

Posted on July 28, 2022 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
Dr. Bethany Dado-Senn | The latest concern and next frontier for dairy cattle environmental management is the mitigation of heat stress in youngstock. This has been particularly apparent the past few weeks as most of the Midwest has seen multiple heat waves. If you’re looking to provide heat stress abatement to your calves or heifers, here are a few options you might consider.

Prevent the challenging heifer cycle (part 2)

Posted on July 27, 2022 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
Dr. Noah Litherland | A challenging heifer cycle occurs when a portion of the heifer development phase does not go as planned and results in heifers that have lower-than-expected rates of growth, lung consolidation, or increased rate of non-completion of first lactation. The net result is often a reduced return on investment from the heifer program. This article, the second in a two-part series, discuss the impacts of management, labor and facilities.

Calf chat with Ann (video): What affects passive transfer?

Posted on April 13, 2022 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
In this edition, Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus calf program manager, discusses the factors that affect passive transfer beyond how much IgG is fed to the calf.

Prevent the challenging heifer cycle (part 1)

Posted on April 13, 2022 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Dr. Noah Litherland, Vita Plus dairy technical services A challenging heifer cycle occurs when a portion of the heifer development phase does not go as planned and results in heifers that have lower-than-expected rates of growth, lung consolidation, or increased rate of non-completion of first lactation.  The net result is often a reduced return on investment from the heifer program.

Expert’s corner: Electrolytes for calves

Posted on April 13, 2022 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Dr. Megan Weisenbeck, Northern Valley Livestock Services Regardless of the cause of diarrhea, replacement of water - ideally by electrolyte solutions - is a main part of the treatment plan.  Note the phrase “replacement of water.”  The most critical part of offering electrolytes is water! 

Protect the gut to protect the lungs

Posted on February 10, 2022 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Dr. Noah Litherland, Vita Plus dairy technical services Respiratory disease is one of the primary challenges to successful heifer calf development. Maintaining intestinal integrity (protecting the gut) appears to be one path to protecting the lungs and decreasing respiratory disease risk. Thus, one goal of calf nutrition is to maintain intestinal integrity.

Expert’s corner: Scour vaccine protocols for dairy beef calves

Posted on February 10, 2022 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Dr. Trey Gellert, Four Star Veterinary Service, LLC It is critically important to vaccinate dairy beef calves because these calves may be co-mingled or stressed, or have unknown colostrum intake, colostrum quality, or dairy farm disease pressure. These make the dairy beef calf unique and different compared to typical cow/calf and dairy youngstock.

Special edition virtual farm tour: Drumlin Dairy LLC

Posted on December 17, 2021 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
For this special edition virtual farm tour, we visit a commercial dairy goat farm to compare and contrast management of dairy goats with that of calves and heifers.

Learning from the swine industry: Starting nursery piglets

Posted on December 16, 2021 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
We can often gain helpful knowledge, awareness and practical tips when we look outside of our day-to-day activities. Pat Bane was named America’s Pig Farmer of the Year in 2018. In this article, he shares his insights for successfully raising nursery piglets. By Pat Bane, Bane Family Pork co-owner and manager There is not a more stressful time in a pig’s life than the days following weaning. Anything we can do to lessen that stress is a benefit to the animal.

Expert’s corner: When maternal colostrum runs short

Posted on December 16, 2021 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus calf program manager Years of research prove the immense, long-term impact high-quality colostrum has on the health and performance of calves – the future of your herd. Maternal colostrum is a high-value asset on your farm. Unfortunately, that asset often runs short this time of year as many farms see a slump in colostrum production between November and February. Farms need to have a “plan B” in place as they don’t want to short calves on this vital nutrition.

Calf care checklist: Alternative bedding options

Posted on December 16, 2021 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Dr. Lucas Mitchell, Vita Plus calf and heifer specialist Farmers and calf raisers generally have a very strong understanding of the pros and cons of wehat straw, sawdust, wood shavings and sand as bedding sources because they are so prevalent. However, several alternative bedding materials may be available in your area and their pros and cons are often not as well known. The goal of this article is to highlight some of these alternative bedding materials and outline the pros and cons of each.

VIDEO: Calf chat with Noah – Uncommon cause of loose manure

Posted on October 8, 2021 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
In this edition of Calf Chat, Dr. Noah Litherland, dairy technical services specialist, shares his recent experience of working with a herd veterinarian to identify an uncommon cause of loose manure.  Visit our YouTube channel for more editions of Calf Chat.