Supporting Calf Immunity in the First Weeks of Life

Posted on September 24, 2019 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

By Dr. Jenn Rowntree, Vita Plus calf and heifer specialist
Colostrum is one of the best ways to ensure adequate transfer of immunity from the dam to the calf. However, when a calf doesn't receive enough immune protection, it can be vulnerable to health challenges.

VIDEO: A Day in the Life of a Calf Raiser – Colostrum Protocols

Posted on May 21, 2019 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

Maria Poock with Fischer-Clark Dairy Farm Inc. walks us through the calf team's colostrum management protocols, including harvesting, testing, storing and tube-feeding colostrum.

Calf Care Checklist: 7 Supplies to Stock in Your Maternity Area – Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus

Posted on March 18, 2019 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

By Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus calf products coordinator
Keeping a well-stocked maternity pen with these 7 must-have items can help give calves a successful start to life.

VIDEO: A Day in the Life of a Calf Raiser – Colostrum Management

Posted on October 25, 2018 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

With Sara Schilling, Schilling Farms LLC
Sara Schilling of Schilling Farms LLC talks to us about her colostrum management protocols and describes her goals for giving calves the best start to life.

10 Maternity Must-Haves – Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus

Posted on October 24, 2018 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

By Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus calf products coordinator
These 10 must-have items can help you give your calves the best start possible in the maternity pen.

Nutritional regulation of gastrointestinal function in calves pre-weaning – Dr. Michael Steele, University of Alberta

Posted on June 28, 2018 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

By Brittany Olson, contributing writer
Colostrum is concentrated with important nutrients, antibodies and growth hormones to help give a calf a healthy start to life.  Steele explained how providing quality colostrum early in a calf's life can help it take in nutrition and repel pathogens. 

VIDEO: Calf Chat with Ann – 7 Winter Newborn Calf Tips

Posted on December 27, 2017 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

With Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus calf products coordinator
Cold temperatures are especially tough on newborn calves. In this edition of Calf Chat, Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus calf products coordinator, provides seven tips to give newborn calves the best start possible.

Virtual Farm Tour: Prairie Dairy

Posted on December 27, 2017 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

Rachelle Krienke has two major goals for her calves:  She wants them to be as healthy as possible and she wants to see good body condition at weaning.  She has designed a system that allows her to consistently reach both goals for her farm’s replacement heifers.

Veterinarian’s Corner: Impact of Waste Milk Quality on Calf Health and Performance

Posted on December 27, 2017 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

By Dr. Jeremy Schefers, University of Minnesota, and Dr. Noah Litherland, Vita Plus dairy youngstock technical specialist
Quality and hygiene are important considerations when feeding waste milk to nursery calves.  Benefits of on-farm pasteurization include reduced diarrhea and respiratory disease.  Proper pasteurization also kills Mycobacterium paratuberculosis (responsible for Johne’s disease), Salmonella and Mycoplasma, if present in milk. 

Nutritional Needs in Calf’s First 10 Days

Posted on December 26, 2017 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus calf products coordinator The first days of a calf’s life set the stage for its health and performance as it grows. Day 1 Colostrum is a loaded first meal for the young calf.  Calves require fat and protein for energy and muscle development in the first days of life, as

Choose Right: Colostrum Supplements and Replacers – Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus

Posted on June 20, 2017 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

By Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus calf products coordinator
Colostrum management is a detailed process and management protocols lead to great success.  Whether you adhere to these protocols determines whether this is a make-it-or-break-it event in a calf’s life.

For example, what do you do if you don’t have the high-quality colostrum your calves need?  You need a back-up plan, and colostrum replacers and supplements can be a useful tool to give calves the best start possible. 

Regional Calf Report: Central Wisconsin – Cassie Stillman, Vita Plus

Posted on June 20, 2017 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

By Cassie Stillman, Vita Plus Loyal dairy specialist
Summer has finally arrived in central Wisconsin, but we had to first go through some unpleasant weather in May.  Heavy rainfall and cool temperatures made it difficult on calves.  Discussions with our team and on-farm observations point to respiratory problems as one of producers’ main concerns.  In addition, keeping calves hydrated and stress-free with the recent warm weather has become a priority.  Adjusting from one season to another can be very stressful on youngstock if the transition period is not smooth.

NEW! Calf Program Checklist: Measuring Serum Total Protein – Dr. Noah Litherland, Vita Plus

Posted on April 20, 2017 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

By Dr. Noah Litherland, Vita Plus dairy youngstock technical specialist
Serum total protein analysis is a simple and repeatable way to evaluate passive transfer of immunoglobulins in dairy calves up to five days of age.  When colostrum is fed, the immunoglobulins are absorbed through the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream, where they interact with tissues in the body to provide passive transfer of immunity from the dam to the calf. 

Regional Calf Report: Ohio – Kayla Oxendale, Vita Plus

Posted on February 23, 2017 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

By Kayla Oxendale, Vita Plus dairy specialist
As we embark on 2017, we find our industry under new regulations that influence the decision-making and day-to-day operations on many farms.  The Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) requires additional traceability to use some common medications.

Managing Through Autumn Colostrum Slump – Dr. Noah Litherland, Vita Plus

Posted on October 28, 2015 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
Dr. Noah Litherland, Vita Plus dairy youngstock technical specialist We’ve arrived at the time of year when we hear reports of low colostrum yield from fresh cows.  Field results indicate colostrum yield may reach a low point in November and December, averaging less than 5 pounds of milk per cow at first milking. Both colostrum

Ask the Expert: Bottle or Esophageal Tube to Feed Colostrum? – Milk Products team

Posted on June 25, 2015 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
Question:  What’s the best way to feed colostrum?  By bottle or esophageal feeder? A:  Colostrum management is of critical importance for maximizing calf health.  Multiple factors influence passive transfer of immunity from colostrum, including quality, quantity, quickness and cleanliness.  Current recommendations call for the first colostrum feeding to be delivered within four hours of birth,