Friday, December 21, 2018

"Don't Rush the Transition"

This is the title of a summary sent out on December 3 by Abby Bauer, Associate Editor of Hoard's Dairyman, of talk by Dr. Bob James (Down Home Heifers) on managing the transition of dairy heifers from their initial milk-based ration to that of a ruminant. 

See the summary HERE. If in desperation due to a technical mix up the link does not work here is the full URL 

Dr. James does a good job emphasizing the need for a planned carefully executed plan to move these young heifers to full ruminant status. 


Monday, December 17, 2018

Tips for Keeping Your Milk Replacer Clean

The December issue of the calf management news letter is now posted online at To view, click HERE or paste the URL into your browser.

The summary: 

  • Keeping bacteria out of powder – cups, scoops, open bags.
  • People and containers can add more bacteria as we measure and mix.
  • Avoiding “hidden” sources of bacteria as we feed – routines and equipment.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Cold Weather Calf Care

You say, "Oh, no. Not another cold weather care newsletter!" Yup! Yet another one. Each one of these newsletters about cold weather care for young dairy calves has several unique ideas - so look through this one to see if you pick up an idea or two. 

The Iowa State Cooperative Extension Dairy staff member, Dr. Ryan Breuer, covers familiar ground and included several practical "How To" hints. 

The URL is

Or, you can click HERE.


Monday, December 3, 2018

What is all this fuss over nesting scores for calves 
during cold winter weather?

The principle of "nesting" in bedding for young dairy calves is creating a micro-environment. Workers at the University of Wisconsin pioneered in developing this concept. The short video featured here in this blog explains the concept and, with pictures, demonstrates the 3-value scale.

The URL is

or, try clicking HERE to go to the podcast video presentation.

I was fortunate when raising calves in the cold western New York climate to have a generous supply of long wheat straw for my calves. As early as the first of November in this climate I began to bed for #3 score bedding. 

Even on winter stormy days when there were just not enough hours to get even the basics done just before the afternoon milk feeding I tossed a couple of straw bales into my JD Gator. For the very youngest calves I shook out an extra flake or two of straw in their hutches. I slept better in my warm bed at home those nights knowing these baby girls had a "nest" to help keep them warm.