Friday, January 19, 2018

Dehydrated Calves often = Dead Calves

During periods of hot weather we seem to be quite aware of the threat of dehydration among our calves. However, it is easy to overlook the dangers of dehydration during periods of below freezing weather. 

You may want to look at this resource: or click HERE.

The main point here are:

Why do calves get dehydrated? 

Preventing dehydration is more cost effective than treating it. 
     1. Reduce pathogen exposure.
     2. Increase immunity to pathogens. 
     3. Feed free-choice water.

Treating it requires timely measures appropriate to the degree of dehydration.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Timing Blood Draw for Checking on Passive Transfer of Immunity

It is possible to get too eager to draw blood for checking on passive transfer of immunity from colostrum feeding.

With my own calves I had a routine of collecting blood the second day they were with me. All the calves born in the previous 24 hours were delivered to my calf hutches late every morning. They then received a PM milk feeding that same day and another feeding the next morning.

After cleaning up all the milk feeding equipment I went back to the calves to feed calf starter grain. It was convenient time to draw blood on the new arrivals from the previous day. All of them had at least 24 hours since they were fed colostrum. Blood antibodies levels should have peaked.

What can go wrong?
Not waiting at least 24 hours between colostrum feeding and drawing blood.

Let's say I drew blood every afternoon, 1 or 2PM. What if a calf was fed colostrum at 6AM, moved to her hutch at 11AM and I drew blood the same afternoon?  The antibodies would not have a chance to fully migrate into the blood in that short time between 6AM and 2PM. Test results would be invalid.

The resource, Passive Transfer of Immunity: When to Test, goes over all these points. You can go to it by clicking HERE.  

Friday, January 12, 2018

Cold Weather Calf Care Checklist

What is easier than a checklist?

Zip down through the items on the list - ok, ok, ok, ok, oops - forgot about that. That is the beauty of a checklist.

If you are in a climate where it is cold this time of  year this quick checklist might help you find the weak link in your calf management. 

Click HERE for the checklist. 


Monday, January 8, 2018

Dry Calf? Good Cold Weather Management

If you do not already have a routine procedure in place to get newborn calves dry maybe you need one. 

This resource, "Drying Off a Calf." reviews:

When to dry off the calf? 

How dry is “dry”? 

Calf coats go on dry calves! 

Towels and their care.

 Drying the calf – techniques that work.

While getting a dry haircoat may not seem to be important during warm summer weather, it may make the difference between a live and dead calf in cold winter conditions.

Click HERE to go to the resource. 

Friday, December 29, 2017

January Calf Management Newsletter
"Feeding Space for Heifers"

Briefly the contents are: 
  • Why is the amount of feeder space an issue?
  • What about transition heifers coming out of hutches or individual pens?
  • Space issues for heifers between 4 and 8 months?
  • Space issues for breeding age and pregnant heifers?
To go to the issue click HERE.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Feeding Space for Heifers

On-farm visits recently have highlighted a continuing issue in heifer nutrition and management. 

No enough space at the feed bunk for the heifers in the pen!

Too little feeding space at certain ages may result in:
  • Slow growth rates
  • High sickness or morbidity rates
  • Large variation in growth rates among heifers resulting in significant size differences of heifers the same age
To read more on this for transition heifers, heifers between 4 and  8 months and breeding-age heifers click HERE.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Why do we feed colostrum?

This short two-page review is in Question:Answer format (9 of them).
  • Why do we feed colostrum?
  • What is in colostrum to prevent disease in calves?
  • What are maternal immune cells?
  • How do maternal immune cells prevent disease?
  • What are antibodies (or, immunoglobulins)?
  • How do antibodies prevent disease?
  • What are "Other" elements in colostrum?
  • How do these "other" elements prevent disease?
  • What is in colostrum to provide nutrition for calves?
Access this review by clicking HERE.