All of the calves born at Sunshine Genetics, Whitewater, Wis., are high-value embryo transfer calves.

That means the dairy does a lot to ensure the calves’ get off to a good start. Karen Marsh outlined these key points for getting calves off to a good start at World Dairy Expo last fall.

  • The maternity pen is located in an area of the barn that is away from traffic to give cows a quiet, relaxed atmosphere for birth.
  • The pen is cleaned, sanitized and bedded with new bedding after each calving.
  • Whenever an employee goes into the maternity pen, he or she must put on clean coveralls and boots.
  • All births are supervised
  • All calves receive colostrum from mature cows that test negative for bovine leukosis, Johne’s disease, neospora and are BVD-PI free.