Ask the Expert: Will Johne’s Vaccination Affect Our Ability to Feed Colostrum and Milk to Calves? – Dr. Kevin Ratka and Dr. Owen Mickley, Vita Plus

Posted on February 26, 2015 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Dr. Kevin Ratka, Vita Plus dairy technical sales specialist, and Dr. Owen Mickley, dairy specialist Question:  My herd has a high prevalence of Johne’s, so we've been using the Johne's vaccine in our herd.  Will that affect our ability to feed colostrum and milk to calves?  A:  For several reasons, Johne’s disease is very

Calf Care Quick Tip: Testing Total Proteins with a Refractometer

Posted on October 27, 2014 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
Testing total blood proteins can help you manage your colostrum program as this simple test indicates whether successful passive transfer is achieved.  Use the following steps as you test blood protein levels in your calves. Collecting the sample Use a red-top serum collection tube (no anti-coagulant added), vacutainer or 3-cc syringe with 20 g 1-inch

Ask the Expert: What Should I Include in my Colostrum Management Protocols? – Dr. Don Niles, Dairy Dreams LLC

Posted on October 27, 2014 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Dr. Don Niles, Dairy Dreams LLC Question:  In the next couple of months, I want to establish a colostrum management protocol that will help my team effectively deliver high quality colostrum to every calf.  Can you share an example of a successful program? A:  At Dairy Dreams, we are very interested in raising the

Dr. Steve Hayes, Day 1 Technology – Gizmos or Guesses: Evaluating Tools to Measure Calf Performance

Posted on July 2, 2014 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
Click to download the PowerPoint presentation Article written by Macy Sarbacker Most calf raisers have three primary goals, according to Dr. Stephen Hayes with Day 1 Technology. These three goals are: to keep calves alive, to keep calves healthy, and to keep calves growing. Based on these goals, Hayes came up with four gizmos to

Dr. Frank Garry, Colorado State University – Improving Newborn Calf Survival

Posted on July 2, 2014 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
Click to download the PowerPoint presentation Article written by Peggy Coffeen, Progressive Dairyman We often associate the stress of giving birth with how it affects the cow and underestimate the dramatic physiological changes that the calf undergoes, according to Colorado State University’s Dr. Franklyn Garry, DVM, MS. “At birth, the calf faces the biggest challenges

Calf Care Quick Tip: Colostrum Cubes

Posted on April 28, 2014 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
Shared by Dr. Noah Litherland, Vita Plus dairy youngstock technical specialist Colostrum cubes are a convenient way to add immunoglobulins and other growth factors naturally found in colostrum to increase calf gut health without the use of antibiotics.  Colostrum cubes are low-cost and can be produced with items already on the farm.  I use colostrum

Prevent Infections With Colostrum and Navel Dipping

Posted on October 27, 2013 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
With Dr. Mark Sosalla, Country Hills Animal Health Calves are born with virtually no immune system, making them extremely susceptible to infections and illness. According to Dr. Mark Sosalla, two key factors can help keep calves healthy:  colostrum and navel dipping. Sosalla is a veterinarian with Country Hills Animal Health in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. 

Regional Calf Report: Central Michigan – Kristi Keilen

Posted on August 29, 2013 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Kristi Keilen, Vita Plus dairy specialist Here in Michigan, things have been going well this month.   An unusually cool summer has been very good for the calves.  With temperatures staying right around the 70s, we haven’t had much heat stress to worry about and calves have minimal health issues.  Temperatures have climbed this week,

Ask the Expert: Pros and Cons of Pasteurizers – Dr. Steve Hayes, Day 1 Technology

Posted on June 26, 2013 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Dr. Steve Hayes, DVM, Day 1 Technology Q:  We are considering the purchase of a colostrum pasteurizer.  What are the pros and cons of these systems?  If we do purchase one, how do we know if it's working? A:  Pasteurizers have really become popular in the past 10 years on dairies and calf raising

Colostrum for One and All – Dr. Laurie Winkelman

Posted on December 26, 2012 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Dr. Laurie Winkelman, Vita Plus dairy nutritionist and technical services specialist Calves are born into this world without immunity or the ability to fight off pathogens and infections.  Unlike humans, the cow’s placenta does not allow antibodies to transfer from cow to calf.  High quality colostrum is the only way to prepare these newborns

Ask the Expert: Preventing Infections

Posted on November 13, 2012 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
Dr. Owen Mickley, DVM, works as a dairy specialist in eastern Ohio. Prior to joining Vita Plus, Mickley served as a practicing veterinarian in New York and Ohio for three years. Q: Lately I have noticed an increase of navel infections, ear tag infections and joint swelling on our farm and this seems to happen

Measuring Colostrum Quality

Posted on November 9, 2012 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
Failure of passive transfer is one of the biggest factors affecting calf health and mortality. Not only is it important to make sure your calves are getting colostrum in a timely manner, but it is also important that the colostrum you are feeding is of the highest quality. How do you evaluate colostrum quality? Several

Feeding Colostrum by Bottle or Esophageal Feeder: Does it Matter?

Posted on November 8, 2012 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
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. It’s normally fed via nipple bottle and/or esophageal feeder. The most recent NAHMS (2007)

First Colostrum, Then Vaccinations

Posted on November 5, 2012 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
Today’s calf raisers have many vaccine options to give their calves a healthy start. However, those vaccines should never outrank high quality colostrum in priority. That’s according to Dr. Chris Chase with South Dakota State University. In his presentation during the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin (PDPW) Annual Business Conference, Chase explained the development of

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

Ask the Expert: Colostrum Replacers Versus Supplements

Posted on November 5, 2012 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
Ann Hoskins works with calf raisers through the Midwest in her role as Vita Plus calf products coordinator. What is the difference between a colostrum replacer and a colostrum supplement? When should I be using a colostrum replacer? Colostrum replacers and colostrum supplements are often confused with one another. The role of a colostrum replacer