Latest News From Calf

Colostrum Management A Cornerstone For Dairy Calf Health

Dairies have made great strides in managing colostrum, but about 14% of calves fail to get passive transfer of antibodies. There is still opportunity to improve upon this, encourages Sandra Godden, DVM.

Does Acidification Improve Colostrum?

Acidification of milk or milk replacer is a common practice for some calf raisers, with some studies showing it improves weight gain and fecal scores in calves.

Cow-Calf Producers Benefit From Keeping Colostrum Supplies On Hand

Barry Whitworth, Oklahoma State University Extension veterinarian recommends cow-calf operators keep several doses of colostrum or colostrum replacer handy as calving season is underway in many parts of the country.

Managing Hypothermia in Newborn Calves

Plans for calving season should include how to identify and manage cold stress in newborns. Here's what you need to know.

The Eyes Have It When Detecting Early Calf Respiratory Disease

Detecting respiratory disease in calves early – when treatment is most effective – should start by examining the head and facial features, according to veterinarian Tiago Tomazi with Merck Animal Health.

Addressing Calf Scours with Pasture Management

A management plan using clean calving pastures can help prevent direct contact between older calves and younger calves and minimize the potential for sickness to occur.

Calf Scours and Calving Pasture Rotation

Calf scours results in sickness, poor performance, medical expenses and death. Here's a look at the complex disease and one management method found to decrease and even prevent transmission.

Raising The Orphan Calf

Raising an orphaned beef calf can be time consuming and may require additional expense. Additionally, calves may not be thriving at the time they are orphaned so managing health and nutrition can present challenges.

Background and Research Supporting Caffeine for High-Risk Calves

Caffeine may help stimulate at-risk calves that are the result of dystocia (difficult birth), hypothermia from being born in the cold, or being run down from a stressful event such as disease or transport. 

Creep Feeding Fall-Born Calves: Yes or No?

At approximately 90 to 120 days after calving, forage provides most of the calf’s nutrient requirements, which introduces a management decision: should I creep feed? 

Limit-Fed ‘High-Risk’ Cattle: Greater Performance, No Negative Health Effects Found

While “high-risk” cattle are often given high levels of hay or forage to aid in the transition to a milled diet, a study at the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station researches ways to increase performance.

Shorter Hauls Suggested for Traveling Calves

When baby calves are transported from their home dairy to a separate rearing site, they need support in multiple ways.

More Milk Could Mean Faster Healing for Young Calves

It has been well-documented that feeding preweaned calves on a higher plane of nutrition improves calf health and performance. However, providing calves more nutrients may also promote wound healing.

Immunizing Dairy Calves Against BRD is Not as Simple as ‘One and Done’

In the past, it was believed there was no point to give injectable respiratory vaccines before about 4 months of age, because they would be inactivated by maternal antibodies. A recent study proves that’s not the case.

Calves Could Benefit from Physical Enrichment

Just like children letting off some steam on the playground, calves too could benefit from physical enrichment.

When Sick Dairy Calves on the Farm are Unlikely to Recover

Decision-making for treating tough diseases in dairy calves is complex and challenging. Sometimes timely euthanasia is needed. More training and support for calf caretakers are needed in the process.

Finish the Race Strong: Quality Nutrition a must for Cowherd Success

The third trimester is critical to calf development – like the final leg of a race – and cows need to be primed to reach the finish line.

Weaning Considerations for Healthy Calves

Whether calves will be retained and backgrounded or sold shortly after weaning, it is important to consider the impacts of weaning strategies on calf health and performance.

The Pros and Cons of Caustic Paste

University of Wisconsin animal welfare researcher Sarah Adcock addresses several considerations when using caustic paste to complete disbudding, as well as some drawbacks that could be improved upon.

9 Practices to Help Resuscitate a Newborn Calf

After a typical birth the calf should breathe within 30 seconds of delivery, says Dr. Geof Smith, dairy technical services veterinarian for Zoetis. If it isn't, you need to intervene.

Six Straw Alternatives to Get You Through a Bedding Shortage

If you are experiencing a shortage in your straw supply, here are six bedding alternatives to consider.

Beef Calf Vigor Assessment Shows Importance of Suckle Reflex

Elizabeth Homerosky, DVM, Veterinary Agri-Health Services, set out to find how to quickly identify compromised calves and help predict whether they can acquire optimal passive immunity. She shares what she learned here.

Time to Break Out the Calf Jackets

Because newborn calves have very little body fat to help them stay warm, calf jackets can help them preserve energy, protect immunity and improve daily gain.

Colder Temperatures and Calf Care Considerations

During periods of cold or wet weather, newborn calves (less than 2 days of age) should be checked every few hours with a thermometer and any calf with a below-normal temperature, even if it appears OK, should be warmed.

Can Retaining and Backgrounding Calves Pay this Year?

Projected value of gains for growing calves this winter are in the $1.35 to $1.40 per pound range and has the potential to go even higher based on projections for available feeder cattle numbers next spring.

Are Dairy Crossbreds Harder to Calve?

Compared to Holsteins, is calving time with crossbreds more difficult in terms of calf weight, stillbirth, gestation length, or dystocia?

Colostrum May Have Yet Another Virtue: Scours Treatment

Effectively treating calves for scours could be as easy as feeding them something that virtually every dairy farm has on hand: colostrum.

Fall Processing Recommendations for Weaning-aged Calves 

And just like that, it’s time for fall processing. Let’s look closely at what to give weaning-aged calves for a leg-up in their next stage of life.     

Speer: Dairy Cows Now On Double Duty

America's dairy industry has been robust the last several decades. Now, larger average dairies are producing more beef-dairy crossbred calves that are much higher quality for producing beef.

What Can We Do Better for Calves?

Updates from the Dairy Cattle Welfare Symposium 2022

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An Easier Way to Temp Calves?

Monitoring calves’ body temperature is a critical metric to maintaining their health, and is especially valuable if temperature changes can be detected early.

Do you have a Calf Herd Program?

While Lung Ultrasound is the cornerstone of any good Calf Herd Health Program, there are many other benefits to getting your herd vet in your calf barn on a regular basis.

Manage Shrink when Marketing Weaned Calves this Fall

Shrink is a concern because it reduces sales weight, but abnormal levels of shrink is often used as a health indicator for cattle arriving in receiving facilities at stocker operations, grow yards, and feedlots.

Calves Can Be Picky About Trace Minerals

Trace minerals are important to calves’ development, but these nutritional components can vary in source. It turns out some trace minerals are more palatable than others, resulting in differences in consumption.

Pour Hydration to Heat-stressed Calves

Extra water – along with a possible electrolyte boost -- is never more important than in the heat of summer.

How to Mimic the Perks of Transition Milk

We now know the beneficial influence of feeding transition milk to calves. Is there a way to deliver that nutritional and immunological support and bypass the tedious process of harvesting and feeding transition milk?

Do's and Don'ts for Calf Hernia Repair in the Field

Know when to cut and when to run. With the former, Amanda Hartnack, DVM, recommends fixing those hernias in the field that are no larger than 10 to 15 centimeters.   

7 Steps to Start Calves on Starter

The sooner calves eat enough dry feed to sustain themselves, the better equipped they are to bridge the nutritional gap between the fixed liquid ration and a weaned diet of solely dry feeds.

“Hybrid” Approach Helps Maximize Colostrum Quality

Maternal colostrum is often considered nature’s “perfect food.” But does this “free” resource help calves achieve passive immunity as reliably as the guaranteed ingredients in a bag of colostrum replacer?

Consider the Cost: Deciding When to Re-treat Calves for BRD

Every re-treatment puts additional stress on calves and reduces profit margins due to the additional medicine and labor costs. On the other hand, waiting too long to re-treat can increase the number of sick calves.

Relieving Stress Around the Branding Pen

Spring calving brings the promise of working calves and branding season. Each operation is set up differently with varying resources to work calves. How do you minimize cattle stress during this event?

How to Pick the Best Electrolyte for Your Calves

Pardon the pun, but dealing with scours can be a real pain in the butt. It’s frustrating, it’s costly, and it can be downright messy at times.

Late Maternal Stress Proves to be Real

It’s important to stay abreast of new research that can influence dairy management practices. That’s what happened recently at Rosy-Lane Holsteins, Watertown, Wis.

Dairy Semen Sales hit 17-Year-Low: What Will the Trend be Going Forward?

With the cost of inflation impacting every corner of a dairy, the producer’s breeding strategy has been forced to become finetuned. More and more producers are keeping just enough replacements to fill the pipeline,.

Foolproof Colostrum Protocols Makes all the Difference

A protocol overhaul helped the team at Singing Brook Farms, Imler, Pa., up their game in colostrum delivery. Two of their key managers share how they now seamlessly deliver high-quality colostrum to every newborn calf.

Could SARA be “Good” for Calves?

It is well-known that sub-acute ruminal acidosis (SARA) is a harmful and costly condition for adult dairy cows. But when calves get SARA, is it bad news for them, too? A Canadian researcher’s conclusion: maybe not.

Bottle Beats the Bucket in Providing Winter Water

Providing free choice water to newborn calves has been shown to deliver a wide array of benefits in terms of calf health and performance. But it’s also a huge challenge for some farms in the winter.

Be Prepared to Assist During Calving: Part 1

You should provide assistance immediately if you notice an abnormal presentation of the calf (AKA back feet, only one leg, etc.) or when there is no progress after 30 minutes for a cow or 60 minutes for a heifer.

Timing of Calving Seasons Under the Microscope

Wet, cold conditions often contribute to cattle producers re-examining the timing of their calving seasons. Does moving the season to a different time of year make sense for your clients?

Asian Longhorned Tick Arrives in 17 States, Calves are Especially Vulnerable

The tick transmits Theileria orientalis to many animal species, including cattle, pigs, horses, sheep and goats. Death occurs in up to 5% of affected animals, according to Washington State University scientists.