Dairy Calves and Heifers
Raising a calf from birth to first calving is typically the second or third greatest expense on the dairy. As a dairy producer, it can be difficult to keep a close eye on the animals on the farm that are seemingly lower maintenance than your lactating cows. However, it is important to remember that calves and heifers are the future of herd, so their management should be viewed as an investment, not an obligation.
Good health and nutrition management of calves beginning at birth can pay dividends later down the road. Research shows that animals who get sick during the early days or months of life often do not grow or milk as well as their counterparts as they mature and enter the milking herd. Research also indicates that growth rate, particularly during the pre-weaning period, is associated with first lactation milk production. Thus, setting your mature cows up for success really begins long before she is bred for the first time or enters the milking string. Here you will find information pertinent to building and fine-tuning a sound calf and heifer program.