The Gold Standards III, industry standards for animal welfare for dairy calves and heifers, are now available for all producers. The new guidelines were released at the annual conference of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners in St. Louis, Mo.

This new set of standards are part of an ongoing series that include:

The Gold Standards III were developed by a committee made up of dairy calf and heifer growers (both contract growers and dairy producers), veterinarians, a calf and heifer management specialist and industry representatives. The document also was reviewed by the Animal Welfare Committee of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners and a panel of university experts.

The standards address: 

  • Veterinarian Involvement
  • Colostrum Management
  • Housing
  • Nutrition
  • Animal Handling
  • Transportation
  • Vaccination
  • Drug Therapy
  • Parasite Control
  • Elective Medical Procedures and Supportive Care
  • Euthanasia

Although, the Gold Standards III are not specific production standards, they were developed with welfare as the chief priority. The overlap with production standards that emerges is indicative of the fact that what is best for the animal also is best for production success.

Like the Gold Standards I and II, DCHA's Gold Standards III are carefully developed guidelines that are intended to help producers improve their practices. The association hopes that by creating and publishing the Gold Standards III, all dairy calf and heifer producers - whether they are DCHA members or not - will be more mindful of animal welfare consideration and manage their operations accordingly.

Visit the DCHA website to see the complete Gold Standards III document. There is also a Gold Standards III abridged version available. 


To join DCHA, the leading industry source on raising quality dairy calves and heifers, click here. Have questions about the new GS III or DCHA? Contact us at or call (877) 434-3377.

Source: Dairy Calf & Heifer Association