Ask the Expert: Managing Curtains in the Fall

Posted on November 9, 2012 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Dr. Becky Brotzman, DVM, University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine associate outreach specialist, and Dr. Ken Nordlund, DVM, UW-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine clinical professor Q: With the huge temperature swings in the late summer and early fall, I am always wondering how to handle the curtains in both my nursery and transition

Give Your Transition Barns Some Attention Too

Posted on November 9, 2012 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus Calf Products Coordinator Transitioning a calf from its individual pen to a group pen can be very stressful. We always say three strikes and you’re out. That can really hit home for your transition calves. Stressors that can affect these animals are new location, socializing, feed change, locating feed and

J Hall – How to Raise a Healthy Replacement: A Calf Raiser’s Perspective

Posted on November 9, 2012 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
Download a printable PDF Presentation J Hall has been raising calves for the past 15 years. He started his business with a few hutches and has grown to raising 5,000 calves under five months and 1,800 heifers five-months to springers. This year, he is planning to continue the expansion of his operation to accommodate the

Ann Hoskins – Autofeeders: Are They Here to Stay

Posted on November 9, 2012 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
Download a printable PDF Presentation Autofeeders have advanced since they were first released on the market. According to Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus calf products coordinator, more advanced autofeeders come with a reconsideration of how to manage your facility. Hoskins said autofeeders are free-range feeding systems. They allow milk on demand for the calves that are

Dr. Alex Bach – Managing & Grouping Calves for Optimal Health Performance

Posted on November 9, 2012 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
Download a printable PDF Presentation Adequately taking care of your calves and heifers today is important because they will be influencing the milking herd’s performance in 2014. It seems as though most farmers don't spend enough time focusing on the calves and heifers, and spend most of their time dealing with the milk producing cows,

Exploring Autofeeders For Your Calf Operation

Posted on November 9, 2012 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus calf products coordinator Automatic calf feeders are popping up on many dairy operations across the Midwest. The technology offers plenty of opportunities, but it also requires a refocus on management. The decision of whether autofeeders fit your calf program needs to be made only after careful consideration of how the

Heat Lamps: The Good, Bad and Ugly

Posted on November 9, 2012 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
Long, cold winters are hard on everyone and it is always a constant struggle to keep vital areas of your dairy operation warm. One of these important pieces is baby calves. Many people rely on heat lamps to keep newborn calves from catching a chill once they are born. But, are heat lamps really a

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

Ask the Expert: Heat Abatement for Calves

Posted on November 8, 2012 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
Dr. Becky Brotzman, DVM, is the associate outreach specialist for the Food Animal Production Medicine section at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine. Q: “I am concerned with heat stress in my calves. I currently use both hutches and a calf barn for raising my pre-weaned calves. What are my options for heat

Ask the Expert: Maternity Facilities

Posted on November 5, 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:  What makes the ideal maternity facility? A:  Prior to birth, calves are well protected inside the uterus from bacterial, physical and temperature changes.

Calf Care Quick Tip: Raising Panels in Winter

Posted on November 5, 2012 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
Raising calves in hutches in the winter can be a challenge, but a couple of simple steps can make it much easier. After a snow fall, walk through your hutches and pick up the front panel. This will keep it from freezing down and make it much easier to remove when it comes time to

Is Your Calf’s Wardrobe Ready For Summer?

Posted on November 2, 2012 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
From Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus Calf Products Coordinator Providing an excellent housing environment is key to successfully raising healthy calves. Research has shown calves spend 73 to 81 percent of their time lying down in daylight hours and almost 100 percent at night if not disturbed. This makes the resting surface and space crucial to

Improving Air Movement For the Summer Months

Posted on November 2, 2012 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
From Brian Holmes, University of Wisconsin-Madison We often think of ventilation as a key issue in the summer. But according to Brian Holmes, University of Wisconsin-Madison Biological Systems Engineering professor, ventilation is a key concern for calves year-round. Holmes said that’s because we must first understand that ventilation is defined as air exchange; fresh air

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