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.
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.
The health and productivity of young calves can be affected by a wide range of metabolic and pathogenic conditions. Among the maladies that can profoundly affect calves’ health is their intake and balance of sodium.
Researchers at UC-Davis have developed a handy, easy-to-use diagnostic tool to streamline monitoring of calves for respiratory disease, so they can be detected and cared for early in the disease process.
A new series of resources is available to provide training in calf management including; newborn calf care, colostrum management, animal handling, automatic calf feeder management and hygiene and sanitation.
Protecting the lungs of young calves is critical to their long-term performance as adult animals. SDSU veterinarian Russ Daly discusses methods to prevent and manage pneumonia in calves as the mercury drops.
Data gathered in a recent study by the USDA’s National Animal Health Monitoring System also yields important information regarding colostrum delivery, calf nutrition, ventilation and maternal heat stress.