Calf Care Checklist: Winter Ventilation – Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus

Posted on October 25, 2017 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

By Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus calf products coordinator

As we quickly approach winter, here are a few items you can check to make sure your calf barn ventilation is working properly.

Calf Care Checklist: Designing On-farm Starter Storage – Glenn Andler, Vita Builders

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

By Glenn Andler, Vita Builders LLC general manager
Are you considering construction of calf starter bins on your farm?  Thorough planning prior to construction can save you time and hassle, as well as dollars lost in spoiled feed.  It can also help you build these units so they can be used in the safest way possible.  Consider the following points as you design and construct new bins.

Fast Fact: What Is the Ideal Height for Calf Pails? – Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus

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

Question:  What is the ideal height for calf pails?

Quick answer:  Calf eating behavior indicates 24 to 27 inches is a good range for pail height.

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Calf Care Quick Tip: Filter Milk for Pasteurizing – Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus

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

By Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus calf products coordinator
Organic matter in milk will significantly compromise a pasteurizer's effectiveness.  If your pasteurizer does not have an inline filtering system, use a screen to filter the milk going into the pasteurizer tank.

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. 

Fast Fact: How Can I Slope Hutches to Increase Drainage? – Dr. Noah Litherland, Vita Plus

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

By Noah Litherland, Vita Plus dairy youngstock technical specialist

Question:  How can I slope hutches to increase drainage?

Quick answer:  Creating a 2-percent slope by placing a small mound at the junction of the calf hutch and outside pen increases drainage away from the calf.

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Calf Care Quick Tip: Sanitizing with Foamers – Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus

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

By Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus calf products coordinator
It is not advisable to pressure wash or aerosolize water in calf areas.  Pathogens can easily travel with the mist that pressure washing creates.  Using a foamer is a great alternative.

Calf Care Quick Tip: Collecting Maternity Stats

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

This Calf Care Quick Tip comes from MarBec Dairy in Mondovi, Wisconsin.  Clipboards with record sheets hang on the wall just outside of the maternity pen.  These forms are used to collect information, such as dam and calf identification, calving ease, colostrum collection and more.  A big digital clock makes it easy for employees to note the time of calving.

Ask the Expert: Bottles or Pails? – Dr. Max Thornsberry, Milk Specialties Global

Posted on December 21, 2016 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

By Dr. Max Thornsberry, Milk Specialties Global dairy technical specialist

Question:  Should I feed my calves milk with bottles or pails?

Answer:  Calf raisers should weigh the potential benefits and disadvantages of feeding milk via a bottle, nipple bucket or open-top bucket.

Calf Care Quick Tip: Layer Gloves to Save Time

Posted on December 21, 2016 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

Do you wear out a pair of latex gloves before you finish all of your calf chores?  Here’s a timesaver:  Start your chores wearing a couple layers of gloves.

Ask the Expert: What Maintenance Does My PPTV Need? – Courtney Halbach, The Dairyland Initiative

Posted on November 21, 2016 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

By Courtney Halbach, associate outreach specialist, The Dairyland Initiative

Question:  What maintenance does my positive pressure tube ventilation system need to continue working efficiently?

Answer:  Positive pressure tube ventilation (PPTV) systems have significantly improved calf health and air quality in many calf barns by delivering fresh, outside air at the minimum ventilation rate of four air changes per hour without creating a draft. In order to perform as expected, PPTV systems need to be maintained properly.

Calf Care Quick Tip: Soap Where You Need It

Posted on August 26, 2016 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

This tip comes to use from Buddenberg Farms in Iowa.  Use a small piece of 9-guage wire to make a gallon jug hanger for your soap bottle.

Farm School presenters share their key take-home points

Posted on June 29, 2016 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

To kick-off Vita Plus Calf Summit 2016, about 120 attendees participated in the preconference Farm School on June 21 at Ostrowski Farms, Inc. in Eland, Wisconsin.  While on farm, participants rotated through several stations to learn the best management practices in a wide variety of calf and heifer care areas.  Each speaker shared their key points for attendees to take back to their home farms.

Is My On-farm Milk Pasteurizer Working? – Pat Hoffman, Vita Plus

Posted on April 28, 2016 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

By Pat Hoffman, Vita Plus dairy technical specialist
So let’s start out with a trivia question:  What primary test does a milk plant, such as a cheese factory, use to monitor the efficacy of milk pasteurization?  

Answer: Alkaline phosphatase activity

Calf Care Quick Tip: Hutch Maintenance Toolbox

Posted on April 28, 2016 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

With warmer weather here, it’s a great time for a little spring cleaning and maintenance before the farm gets too busy with fieldwork.  A hutch maintenance toolbox is a handy item to have.  That way, you have one organized place for all the supplies you need as you fix hutches, panels and pens. 

NEW! Fast Fact: When to Put on Calf Jackets

Posted on February 17, 2016 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

Question:  At what temperature do you need calf jackets? 

Quck answer:  Here’s a good rule of thumb.  When the night and day temperatures added together equal 90 degrees F or lower, a calf less than three weeks old should wear a calf jacket. 

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