Calf Nutrition and Management, Part 1

Calf health, growth, and productivity rely heavily on nutrition and management practices. Every heifer calf born on a dairy farm represents an opportunity to maintain or increase herd size, to improve the herd genetically, or to improve economic returns to the farm. The objectives of raising the newborn calf to weaning age are optimizing growth and minimizing health problems. In this video we will discuss the development of the calf's digestive system, learn how important colostrum is for the immune system, and the nutrients the calf needs to be healthy and grow well. We will discuss critical phases of growth for the dairy heifer, the importance of good facilities, and how nutrition plays an important role in getting a healthy well grown heifer ready to be bred and prepared to have her first calf.Proper management and nutrition of the dairy cow transitioning into lactation is very important for obtaining a healthy calf, increased reproductive efficiency and optimal milk production in the following lactation. We will learn how this can be achieved by feeding balanced diets, providing good cow comfort, and assuring the cow is in good body condition before and after she calves. There are many feeding strategies that work for feeding dry cows however the goal should always be to provide high quality feed sources, consistent availability of feed, adequate bunk space and a comfortable environment. We will discuss  how best to manage and feed the dry cow prior to calving so she can transition into lactation with a healthy calf and produce high quality milk. Those of you, who would like to get more engaged in discussions and are interested in completing the Course Certificate requirements, can participate in discussion forums and take the weekly quiz. Enjoy this week's material and the entire course!

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