Summer climate changes mean preweaned calves need more water in their diets to prevent dehydration. But calf and heifer specialist Sam Leadley says calves also need water year-around for optimal digestive development.
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.
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.
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.