Flies are more than just an annoyance for calves in warm weather. High fly populations also can spread diseases among calves; cause stress and reduced immunity; and negatively impact growth and weight gain.
Pregnant heifers are one cohort on dairies that don’t need nutrient-rich diets. In fact, over-feeding mature heifers can lead to excess fat deposition, which may cause calving difficulties and challenging lactation transitions.
When raising replacement heifers, cost per pound of gain is a far more important metric than daily feed cost, according to Tamilee Nennich, dairy nutritionist and board member for the Dairy Calf and Heifer Association.
Increasing the liquid nutrients delivered to calves in cold weather is a highly recommended practice, and is done with the best of intentions. But abomassal bloat can be a deadly side effect for some calves.