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Welcome to the Calf & Heifer Resource Center. The Center is dedicated to serving your educational needs and helping you find the resources needed to make informed business decisions. Our online community includes links to Web sites and companies that have a special interest in the area of calf and heifer issues. Please browse the Center and let us know what we can do to improve it even further. Send comments to tquaife@food360.com.


Get calves started right. These articles focus on all aspects of newborn-calf care, colostrum management and passive transfer of immunity.


These articles from the Dairy Herd Management archives cover all aspects of calf and heifer health, including immunity, disease prevention and control, biosecurity and vaccination.


Feed cost is a major portion of the cost to raise calves and heifers. This section covers calf and heifer nutrition, including milk-feeding programs, pasteurization of milk fed to calves and feed bunk management.


TIPS from The Dairy Calf & Heifer Association

No substitute for TLC

Linda Arata of Chowchilla, Calif. is more like a foster mother than a calf grower. “I’ve had calves in the kitchen and the bathtub — I’ve fed them on my lap — I’ve pretty much done everything short of sleeping next to them,” she says. 

Arata custom raises high-value embryo-transfer calves for a nearby commercial dairy that has a string of registered animals. While she admits that some of her practices cannot be replicated in a large commercial setting, many of them can. Here are six practices that Arata always uses:

  • Use calf jackets in the wintertime, especially on small or fragile calves. Even in California, the calves sometimes need extra protection from cold stress.
  • Avoid esophageal-tube feeding if at all possible on first feeding.
  • Hand-feed a few handfuls of starter grain to young calves after each bottle of milk, until they readily consume it on their own.
  • Feed water in bottles vs. pails when it is really hot. It promotes consumption and cleanliness.
  • Feed grain in bottle-style dispensers to encourage intake and reduce waste.
  • Raise calves in individual hutches. 

Arata takes pride in having an annual death loss of less than 1 percent. “I think more dairies need to appreciate calves for what they are,” she says. “They are the life and future of the dairy. Any extra investment of time or resources in calves pays off — and then some — in the future.”

 


Web sites and online tools that focus on calves and heifers.


Use the resources to learn about sanitation, ventilation, bedding and pen design in calf-and-heifer housing systems.


Good management yields high-quality heifers that calve on schedule. Use this collection of articles to fine tune your heifer-raising program.



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