Cali the Calf’s Christmas Wish List

Posted on November 9, 2012 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus Calf Products Coordinator I recently had a very interesting discussion with a producer’s calf, and she asked if she could share her “Dear Santa” letter with me. Brought to you right from Cali the Calf: Dear Santa, Santa, I have been very good this year. I drink my milk and

Ask the Expert: Body Condition Scoring of Calves

Posted on November 9, 2012 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
Dr. Neil Michael comes to Starting Strong with nearly 30 years of experience as a veterinarian specializing in dairy. He currently works as the director of dairy initiatives for Vita Plus. Q: How do I know that my calves are getting enough energy during cold weather conditions to maintain and gain body weight? A: One

Designing Calf Starters That Optimize Growth

Posted on November 9, 2012 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
We know that feeding starter early in the calf’s life helps develop the rumen and boost performance. But a lot more goes into a good starter than oats, corn, molasses, fat and a pellet. During his presentation at the 2011 Dairy Calf and Heifer Conference, Dr. Mark Hill with Provimi North America shared his insight

Water in the Winter

Posted on November 8, 2012 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus Calf Products Coordinator Cold weather is approaching. In order to maximize performance and health, you need to provide the key ingredients, including enough calories, high quality starter and water. Are you prepared to offer water this winter?  Even in cold temperatures, providing free choice water is essential for a successful

Optimize Heifer Performance with TMR Management

Posted on November 8, 2012 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
Calf raisers invest a lot of time and energy into optimizing calf performance. Good feed management with young heifers can help to keep that momentum going as calves get older. Cody Yanzick, Vita Plus dairy nutritionist, has spent a lot of time helping producers develop their grower programs to meet heifers’ needs. He provides several

Three Basic Principles Guide Excellent Calf Care

Posted on November 5, 2012 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
Many variables affect a calf’s health and performance. However, calf expert Dr. Sheila McGuirk, DVM, University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine, said three main categories can really guide how calf raisers provide top notch care to their calves. During her presentation at the Dairy Calf and Heifer Conference, McGuirk told producers to think of

Implementing Biologically Appropriate Calf Nutrition Programs

Posted on November 5, 2012 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
What’s become conventional calf feeding isn’t necessarily what’s closest to “natural” calf growth programs. That’s according to Dr. Jim Drackley of the University of Illinois during his presentation at Vita Plus Dairy Summit 2010. Calf feeding programs that are most successful nutritionally mimic cow’s milk.  Drackley introduced the idea of “biologically appropriate nutrition” to Summit

Ask the Expert: Ann Hoskins – Extra Energy in the Winter

Posted on November 5, 2012 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
Q:  What is the best way to get extra energy into my calves in cold weather? Environmental factors can have major effects on the energy requirement of young calves. Newborn calves are particularly vulnerable to temperature changes. The newborn calf has a thermoneutral zone that falls between 55 and 77 degrees F. This means calves

Cold Weather Feeding Options for Calves

Posted on November 5, 2012 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
Environmental factors can have major effects on the energy requirement of young calves. Newborn calves are particularly vulnerable to temperature changes. The newborn calf has a thermoneutral zone that falls between 55˚F and 77˚F. Within this range of temperatures the animal is not required to dissipate or conserve heat to maintain body temperature. Therefore, when

Are Your Calves Feeling the Stress of Winter?

Posted on November 4, 2012 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus Calf Products Coordinator Winter can be very stressful for calves and this winter is no exception. Many steps can be taken to help prevent your calves from being adversely affected by the cold weather-related stress. Producers should provide additional calories to maintain growth, performance and health, as well as a

Milk Replacer Versus Whole Milk

Posted on November 4, 2012 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
Effects on Calf Performance Introduction The use of pasteurized waste (i.e., nonsalable) milk as a liquid feed for calves has increased in recent years (NAHMS 2002; NAHMS 2007) due to greater availability of on-farm pasteurizers. Properly pasteurized waste milk can be a high-quality source of nutrients for young calves and is often times thought of

Raising Healthy Calves in Cold Weather

Posted on November 4, 2012 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
At zero degrees, a 90-pound calf eating one pound of powder or solids daily (equal to one gallon of 12.5 percent solution) can “burn up” its entire body fat reserve (about 3 to 4 percent of body weight) within 18 hours. Bring on the groceries! Calves’ energy intake is the sum of the starter and

Preparing for Spring – Going Back to Basics

Posted on November 3, 2012 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
From Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus Calf Products Coordinator When winter tosses us a new challenge everyday, it can become difficult just taking care of the basic needs. However, spring can bring its own set of challenges to calf raisers. The warm days, cool nights and lots of moisture in the air can prove to be

Water, Water, Water

Posted on November 2, 2012 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
From Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus Calf Products Coordinator To maximize calf performance and health, you need to provide the key ingredients for summer living.  Offering free choice water is essential to a successful calf program. The amount of water lost from the calf’s body is influenced by air temperature, humidity, respiratory rate, housing conditions and

Transition Pens … Time For a Change?

Posted on November 2, 2012 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
What’s the weakest part of your calf program? Chances are it’s the transition pen, where calves usually first experience group housing. After weaning, calves are usually housed individually for another few days or weeks. Then a calf goes to the transition pen when it is 8- to 12-weeks-old. Sometimes, calf raisers feel the initial phase

Meeting the Gold Standards – Part 2

Posted on November 2, 2012 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
The last edition of Starting Strong included the first three of the six categories defined in the Dairy Calf and Heifer Association’s (DCHA) Gold Standards. Dr. Gary Neubauer, a veterinarian with Pfizer Animal Health, said the Gold Standards give producers benchmarks to gauge their calf management programs and focus on the areas that could be