In order to get your calves off to a good start, you must adhere to four basic rules, says Gordie Jones, veterinarian and director of herd performance at Fair Oaks Farms in Indiana. During the first six to eight weeks of life, calves need four things to thrive:

  • Adequate colostrum.
  • A dry environment.
  • Good ventilation. 
  • Individual housing.

 “If you do these four things, the bugs don’t have a chance,”  Jones told attendees at the Professional Dairy Heifer Growers Association’s annual meeting last month. And herd size doesn’t matter. Even large herds can achieve a death loss of less than 2 percent.