Dairy Calf Neonatal Programming Opportunities with Methionine

Posted on June 3, 2021 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

By Dr. Noah Litherland, Vita Plus dairy technical specialist
Neonatal programming is the effect of maternal nutrition, environment, physiology and stress on the calf during gestation.  Performance in early life is largely impacted by the management and nutrition decisions made during the first hours and weeks of life.  An opportunity exists to modify the performance of calves before birth. 

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

Posted on November 23, 2020 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

In this edition of A Day in the Life of a Calf Raiser, Jill Houin discusses the Homestead Dairy, LLC maternity protocols and how they give the calves a successful start to life.

Create a Smooth Weaning Process

Posted on November 12, 2020 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

By Dr. Noah Litherland, Vita Plus dairy youngstock technical specialist
Ideally, the weaning process results in minimal disruptions in nutrient supply to the calf and, in turn, accelerates grain intake.  Weaning age, starter intake at the onset of weaning, and weaning strategy are all components of a smooth transition into to the grower phase.

Veterinarian’s Corner: Late-Term Abortion Diagnostic Work-Ups

Posted on November 12, 2020 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

By Dr. Keith Poulsen, University of Wisconsin-Madison Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory
While most of us want to know why all abortions happen, this article focuses on when you should have a diagnostic work-up done, what you can learn from them, and how you can apply it to dairy herd management.

Maintain Performance from Weaning to Breeding

Posted on July 28, 2020 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

By Dr. Lucas Mitchell, Vita Plus calf and heifer specialist
Many calf growers do a great job tracking preweaned calf growth, however, this tends to go by the wayside after weaning. These "forgotten months" could potentially lead to some disappointing heifers when it comes time for breeding.

4 Steps to Safely Move Transition Calves

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

By Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus calf products coordinator
Moving transition calves can be a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. These four steps can help make the job much easier and safer for everyone involved. Pictures included.

What is Your Maternity Gameplan? – Dr. Noah Litherland, Vita Plus

Posted on May 17, 2019 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

By Dr. Noah Litherland, Vita Plus dairy youngstock technical specialist
Successful maternity programs directly impact the present and future state of the herd. These pre- and post-calving protocols have effectively improved cow and calf health.

Build the Gut for a Stress-Free Transition – Dr. Jenn Rowntree, Vita Plus

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

​By Dr. Jenn Rowntree, Vita Plus calf and heifer specialist
Building a functional rumen is important for a calf to be a successful producer later in life. In addition to offering starter grain and water, here are several other guidelines to ensure proper rumen development preweaning.

VIDEO: Calf Chat with Ann – Walking Transition Heifers

Posted on January 17, 2019 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

In this edition of Calf Chat, Ann Hoskins walks transition heifers with Shawn Miller, Pagel's Ponderosa Dairy calf manager, and shares the steps his team takes when transition calves get sick.

Wise Investments in Heifer Raising – Cody Yanzick and Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus

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

By Cody Yanzick and Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus
The transition period is often the first time calves are grouped with others. Limiting stress during this period can offer some of the greatest dividends, in terms of health and performance, as heifers enter the milking herd.

Impact of Gestation Length on Calf Performance – Dr. Noah Litherland, Vita Plus

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

By Dr. Noah Litherland, Vita Plus dairy youngstock specialist
Environment can have a significant impact on an animal's performance, including effects on gestation length and subsequent calf performance.

Prefresh heifers: A might not equal B – Pat Hoffman, Vita Plus

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

By Peggy Coffeen, Progressive Dairyman
Four common misconceptions exist when we think about prefresh heifers.  Hoffman addressed these misconceptions and challenged producers to dig deeper into these beliefs in order to better understand the unique needs of these animals. 

Growing Heifers to Reach Puberty Earlier has Benefits

Posted on December 26, 2017 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Pat Hoffman, Vita Plus dairy technical specialist, and Dr. Noah Litherland, Vita Plus dairy youngstock technical specialist Puberty in dairy heifers can be defined as a measurable increase in blood progesterone with the presence of a corpus luteum (CL) on an ovary, and heifers begin active cycling.   Dairy heifers reach puberty at a defined

Beyond the Barn: Have a Plan When Growing Heifers

Posted on December 26, 2017 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

By Dr. Noah Litherland, Vita Plus dairy youngstock technical specialist
Heifer weight at calving is an important determinant of first lactation performance.  Our goal is to achieve 82 percent of mature size to achieve 80 percent of mature cow milk yield.  Having a plan and setting benchmarks for heifer growth and development is key to successful replacement heifer development.  The list below summarizes phases of growth and target weight at the end of each growth phase, as well as important highlights and factors that affect growth in each phase.

VIDEO: Calf Chat with Noah – Weaning Strategies

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

In this edition of Calf Chat, Dr. Noah Litherland, Vita Plus dairy youngstock technical specialist, suggests weaning strategies based on the amount of milk fed. 

Veterinarian’s Corner: Maternity Care Matters to Cow and Calf – Dr. Owen Mickley, Vita Plus

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

By Dr. Owen Mickley, Vita Plus dairy specialist
The maternity phase is critical for both the cow and calf, and a high-stress period for the cow.  We can help her be more productive by ensuring her transition into lactation is smooth.