Prof Emily Miller-Cushon from the University of Florida will be the presenter.
Dairy calf care broadly affects behavior, including social interactions and feeding patterns, which impact calf performance and welfare. Miller-Cushon will discuss how early life experiences further influence development behaviors that persist beyond the preweaning period.
All of us have gotten the message about not overfeeding hay at the time of weaning. A research group at Penn State University set out to calibrate the percentage of hay in the ration that would give the best average daily gains. Rations varied from percentage of dry grass hay included from a low of 10 percent to increasing amounts of 17.5% to 25%. The work was done by Lucas Mitchell under the supervision of Jud Heinrichs.
Monitoring these heifers from 9 to 16 weeks of age they found as the percentage of grass hay increased the average daily gain, intake and metabolizable energy intake went down. More hay equals poorer performance.
Take home message: "Levels of grass hay greater than 10% may reduce intake and growth before 16 weeks of age. Too much forage to soon can limit intake and performance."
The 2020 version of the United States FARM minimum standards for calf care call for water feeding for newborn calves by day 3.
Recent research looked at the question of how early water feeding makes a difference in the digestive system of very young calves. The work done at Iowa State Univ. compared the species of bacteria present in the gut between calves offer water at birth and those offered water at 17 days.
Digestibility was better in the calves fed water at birth compared to those that waited until 17 days for water feeding. Additionally, even out to 5 months of age early-water fed calves compared to those with delayed water feeding had a 24 pound (11kg) growth advantage (440 lbs. vs. 416 lbs, 199.5kg vs 188.7kg)
With my own calves I fed 1 quart (about 1 liter) of fresh water after both morning and evening feeding. It's hard to recall exactly, but if my memory is accurate some of the calves were regularly consuming an observable volume of water by the end of the first week.
"Temperature influences the efficacy of some pharmaceutials" says Maureen Hanson in a recent issue of Dairy Herd Management (May/June 2020, p 24)
It the job of the calf care persons to manage the environment for the vaccines that play an important role in preventing disease in the herd's calves.
Suggestions included in this brief review reflect the industry recommendation to keep vaccines in the temperature range of 35 and 45 F. (1.7-7.2 C).
How to do this:
1. Monitor their temperature before use - while in storage. A study in Idaho found that only 35 % of refrigerators checked on-farm stayed in the 35-45F range 95% of the time! Only a third! I would say it is time to buy a thermometer for the refrigerator if you do not already have one.
2. Keep vaccines cool while you are using them.
In practice I always used a cooler with an ice pack in the bottom when carrying vaccines in hot weather. Once on site, I only mixed one bottle at a time, gave injections, came back and mixed another bottle.
Let me share a story about a dairy that complained that their vaccines were not working (in the summer). I arrived shortly before noon on a hot summer day - it was already 90F. Two workers were ready to start giving injections. All four bottles of vaccine had been mixed and were ready to go - sitting along with the syringes on the hot tailgate of the pickup truck. No cooler, no way to keep vaccines cool from the time they came out of the refrigerator back at the utility room. Syringes were hot to the touch.
My recommendations were:
1. Change the time of day for vaccinating. I would prefer vaccinating very early morning (between 5 and 6 am) when calf body temperature is lowest. The highest calf body temperature will occur regularly around 5 pm so that is the time to be sure to avoid.
2. Put all vaccines in a cooler avoiding direct contact with ice (don't want to freeze them) and keep them there until they are ready to use.
3. Only mix as much vaccine that can be used in 15-20 minutes - especially under hot environmental conditions.
4. Keeping the syringes in a cooler will help, too.
This little quiz is aimed at making us think for a momment, "Just what do I consider "normal" for my calves?
In a brief article, "Know a calf's vital signs," Maureen Hanson summarized these numbers for us (Dairy Herd magazine, April 2020, p22).
100 to 102.5 F rectal - digital thermometers are in common use now.
36-60 breaths per minute - just watching the rise and fall of the body cavity.
100-140 beats per minute. "Easily accessible arteries are located at the base of the tail and under the jaw. Keep in mind heart rate will increase when calves are moved or otherwise highly active, so attempt to measure resting heart rate for an accurate assessment."
A conversation with a calf care person highlighted their problem with pneumonia among calves less than 10 days old. I asked them to bring the nipples they were using to feed colostrum and any other bottle fed milk.
Do you know what I found? Every one, yes every one of the nipple openings had been sliced open with a knife. This a common solution to the problem of too-slow feeding.
Try looking at this resource for a reason we should NOT slice open nipples and how to solve the "slow nipple" problem
The futile search for "THE" cause of sickness (scours, pneumonia)
A team approach is most likely to succeed.
Links to resources on boosting immunity and suppressing pathogen expossure.
Just a note on the prolonged lack of posting at the blog.
Our veterinary clinic closed in mid-March to everyone but the practicing DVM's. That isolated me from all my hard copy resources AND my computer. It's possible but complicated to get reliable remote access - which I now have.
In addition, after two surgeries for oral cancer (Dec. and Jan.) I had 30 sessions of radiation therapy in starting in mid-March. The doctors now say that I am cancer free but sure was tiring.
My energy is back and I hope to post on the blog regularly.
If you have friends that read my blog, please let that know that Calves with Sam is up and running again.
These videos were developed jointly by Cooperative Extension staff at University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Iowa State University under the leadership of Jennifer Bentley, Kim Clark and Hugo Ramirez-Ramirez.
Topics include: (video for each topic in either English or Spanish)
Newborn Calf Care: Passive Immunity
: Processing of Newborn Calves
: Harvest and Storage of Colostrum
: Evaluation of Colostrum Quality
: Recommended Colostrum Feeding Techniques
: Using the Esophageal Tube Feeder
: Evaluation of Protein Absorption from Colostrum
Hygiene: Environments for Pathogens
: Monitoring Hygiene
Stress Handling: Introduction
: Flight Zone
: Point of Balance
: Newborn calf handling
: Heat and Cold Stress
Automatic Calf Feeders: Management
: Cleaning and Sanitation
This is the title of a short article, actually the "Veterinary Column" in the February 25 issue of Hoard's Dairyman magazine by Dr. Ollivett, University of Wisconsin.
Terry was responding to a question about the volume of colostrum to feed calves. If you receive this magazine you will want to go to the very back page of this Feb 25 issue. She has sound practical advice.
I tried to find a way to access this column via the web without success. So, if you do not receive Hoard's maybe you can borrow it from a neighboring dairy.
All six of the series have now been posted at the Calf Management site on www.atticacows.com.
Go to the site, select the RESOURCES drop down menu, chose Calf Management Newsletter for all six in the series.
Cancer surgery went well! I'm back on my feet (well, chair in front of computer) and my fingers seem to be connected to my brain so keyboarding is going well. Don't try to keyboard too soon after anesthesia and on pain meds - bad, bad, bad!
Thanks for hanging in there with me - I hope to have lots more fun in the coming weeks.
I was off between December 23 and January 6 due to surgery to remove a cancerous lesion on my tongue. Surgery was successful - 100% gone - Doctor-speak = clean margins. I am so thankful to be healed enough to eat soft solid foods rather than clear fluids. Yeah!
Thank you so much for all the folks that logged in on Jan 6-7 to check on me.
I am going to be off again between January 14 and Jan 23-24 for follow-up surgery to remove some lymph nodes in my neck - this will confirm that the cancer did not spread from my tongue.
Again, please do your homework and send an e-mail to email@example.com with ideas for future blogs.
Nearly all of us have been at some time our life a "new" employee. So much to take in those first few days!
During an interview with Brian Gerrits, CEO of Breeze Dairy Group [quoted in November 29 issue of Progressive Dairy, p 33] he was commenting on a major improvement in their dairy's human resource management program made by his daughter-in-law, Katie. He observed,
"Onboarding - A new employee's first day at work should not include any actual work. Instead, we (Breeze Dairy) dedicate that time to educate them about who we are and what's important to us. We show them around the farm and introduce them to the rest of the team. Our people are truly our most important asset . A good onboarding process results in enhanced job statisfaction and retention, improved performance and increased productivity."
So, time spent at the beginning of employment to "on-board" new workers can have significant value.
After unscheduled cancer surgery on December 23 I am back at my desk. Lots of high fives at January 6 post-op visit in "Cancer Ward Language" - "clean margins" on the tongue surgery. I am due for follow-up lymph node surgery on Jan 14 so I will be off-line for a week or do after that.