The seasonal transition from winter to spring has been longer than normal this year. The extended “brown” season has most calf producers dealing with mild and then cold temperatures, as well as increased dampness.
These stressors reveal gaps in our calf management and have us searching for answers. Let’s look at a few areas that will help our calves in the transitional months and set them up for long-term success.
Pre-calving and maternity: Getting calves off to a great start on day one is critical for high calf health and performance. Make sure close-up cows have a clean, disinfected and well-bedded maternity pen.
Housing: Adjust the barn’s ventilation frequently throughout the day (4-6 times daily) and give additional attention to calf bedding needs, including possible bed pack removal and replacement.
Sanitation: Cleanliness and sanitation are critical year-round, but gaps in sanitation protocols are amplified when combined with weather stress. Mixing pails, utensils, feeding buckets and bottles should all be cleaned and sanitized, as well as tube feeders and drenching guns.
Consistency: Whether you feed milk replacer or pasteurized waste milk, hand deliver milk or use an auto-feeder, day-to-day feeding should be consistent. Weigh milk replacer powder before mixing, check the water temperature with a thermometer before and during milk mixing, and perform routine maintenance on auto-feeders and pasteurizers.
Other practices with big payoffs: Offer clean water and a high-quality calf starter by the second day of life. Review your calf vaccination and animal health protocols with your veterinarian to reflect current concerns.
Please contact your Munson Lakes Nutrition consultant for more in-depth information.
A TMR mixer mounted on a robotic feed pusher makes its way down the concrete feeding aisle of the new, but not yet full, 122-cow free-stall barn constructed next to the old tie-stall barn at Scherber’s Morning Star Dairy near Corcoran.
Now you can access your Munson Lakes Nutrition account online. Just click on the FarmerData logo. Registration is easy, but if you encounter a problem, call us at 800-245-7717. We will walk you through the process. We are Hazardous Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) certified! The aim of the HACCP program is to address potential contamination points in the food production process.