Heifer facilities have many contributing factors that will determine whether they are successful or not. For instance, a good facility is not only clean and well kept, but it is also equipped with the necessary tools to aid in efficient reproductive management.

According to Joe Dalton, Extension dairy specialist at the University of Idaho, “Functional facilities for efficiently managing diary heifers are critical for synchronization programs of heifers to be successful.”  Scales play a major role when it comes to maintaining breeding goals.

Dalton adds, “Although many dairies have a scale to weigh feedstuffs as they are delivered, few have invested in an appropriate weighing and sorting facility for their heifers.” When it comes to optimizing nutrition, growth and development, it is imperative for heifer raisers to utilize a scale and sorting system on a regular basis. This will assist in monitoring growth, while decreasing the variation in heifer groups. 

Properly stocking breeding pens is another factor for making your facility reproduction- friendly. Dalton advises constructing each pen with a back fence and functioning headlocks so that you can lock up all animals at once. This is important especially when you are administering treatments for synchronization and artificial insemination, and verifying pregnancy status.

Visit www.calfandheifer.org to review the DCHA Gold Standards II for specifics on housing environment and breeding.