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Ventilating A Retrofitted Stanchion Barn For Calves

Click here to view as a pdf:  Ventilating A Retrofitted Stanchion Barn For Calves

By Jessica Getschel, B.S.

There’s nothing more picturesque than a dairy farm with a big red barn on a cobblestone foundation. Many of these barns, referred to as stanchion, tiestall or bank barns, were built decades ago and tell stories of families who have been dairy farming for generations.

Over the years, many farmers have moved out of these older barns and into modern freestall barns for a variety of reasons: expanding herd size, new cow comfort recommendations or a new milking system, to name a few. This departure leaves a vacant building prized for its emotional value to the farm.

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Ask the Vet/Ask the Nutritionist

Click here to view as a pdf:  Ask The Vet Ask The Nutritionist

“There are times we need to drench our calves or adult cows but no one on the farm is comfortable performing this procedure.  Are there any tips that could help us?”

-Unsure in Iowa-

There are many reasons for having to administer a liquid by mouth into the rumen or abomasum of an animal. Supplying the correct quantity of colostrum to calves or giving an electrolyte solution for rehydration are a couple common examples. Making sure that drenching is being performed correctly on your farm is crucial, as incorrect drenching can cause aspiration of fluids into the lungs leading to pneumonia, choking and even death. Training livestock handlers on the procedure will help set up your operation for success. Drenching requires skill, knowledge, strength, patience and the right tools for the job.

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Calves, Cold Weather And Calories

Click here to view as a pdf:  Calves Cold Weather And Calories

By Alex Austin, B.S.

It’s no secret that calves can be more prone to health issues when temperatures decrease. We know that proper bedding, calf jackets and avoiding drafts are all important in keeping calves warm in the winter. An often overlooked solution is providing the calf with additional calories.

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Understanding The Principles Of Calf Barn Ventilation

Click here to view as a pdf:  Understanding The Principles Of Calf Barn Ventilation

By Jessica Getschel, B.S.

Understanding the basic principles of calf barn ventilation is essential in evaluating the many different ventilation options available today. There is no single ventilation system that will work for every situation because each calf barn is unique in its structure and layout.

The goal of a properly designed ventilation system should be to provide clean, fresh air at all times for healthy calf development. Ventilation is responsible for removing accumulated heat, moisture, air borne pathogens and noxious gases from the animal’s environment. These factors support the rationale behind ventilating year round, as moisture, pathogens and gases are constantly being released and a buildup of these factors leads to respiratory stress in calves.

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Electrolyte Use

Click here to view as a pdf:  Electrolyte Use

By Kelly Hubert, B.S.

Electrolytes are an important tool to use when supporting scouring and dehydrated calves. Scours are the leading cause of death in young calves, primarily because scours cause calves to rapidly dehydrate. It is important to monitor calves daily and treat them quickly when needed.  A calf needs to receive 10% of its body weight in fluids each day for maintenance, while a growing calf will require even more1. Scouring calves need the calories from milk feedings as well as the extra fluids and nutrition that electrolytes provide. Electrolytes should be fed between the normal milk feedings. Mixing milk and electrolytes together interferes with the clotting mechanism of the milk and is not recommended1. It is best to start with a higher feeding rate of electrolytes and reduce it as the calf’s condition improves. If a calf is not drinking on its own, the use of an esophageal feeder may be required.

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Jessica Getschel, Ventilation Specialist, Contributes to Progressive Dairyman

Crystal Creek® is proud to present Jessica Getschel and Dr. Ryan Leiterman’s recent article published in the Progressive Dairyman Magazine.

Progressive Dairyman will be featuring three of Jessica Getschel’s articles on calf barn ventilation this year.  Jessica is a livestock nutritionist and ventilation specialist at Crystal Creek® and holds a bachelor of science degree from University Wisconsin Madison in Dairy Science and Microbiology.

ARTICLE #1

Key Design Features To Consider Before Building A New Calf Barn

Click here to view as a pdf:  Key design features to consider before building a new calf barn

By Jessica Getschel, B.S.

Proper barn planning saves time and money. For every decision, it is important to understand its associated ramifications. In calf barns, housing style and pen configuration decisions impact ventilation options, which in turn affects the overall success of the barn. Before building a calf barn, think about the ventilation requirements for every season. Allocate at least 10 percent of the overall building cost for the purchase of a well thought out ventilation system and ask these three questions as you consider your ventilation options:

  • Will the system deliver a consistent source of fresh air into the barn during all seasons?
  • Will the system effectively control the airspeed at calf level?
  • Can the ventilation system rapidly adjust to the changing weather conditions of spring and fall when there are warm days and cool nights?

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Can Calf Barns Really Have Too Much Fresh Air In The Winter?

Click here to view as a pdf:  Can Calf Barns Really Have Too Much Fresh Air In The Winter

By Ryan Leiterman, D.V.M.

Cold temperatures are here and winter is quickly approaching. As the temperatures drop, calf barns are closed up and the ventilation rates are turned down. As an industry we do this reflexively, but is it what’s best for the calves?

Studies show that pre-weaned calves raised in hutches have lower pneumonia rates when compared to calves raised in barns. Even calves raised in calf barns equipped with modern ventilation systems can experience increased respiratory disease rates when compared to their hutch-raised counterparts.

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Give Your Beef Calves A Strong Start

Click here to view as a pdf: Give Your Beef Calves A Strong Start

 

By Erik Brettingen, B.S.

The stress caused by weaning decreases a calf’s immune function and makes them more vulnerable to disease. For many years it has been common practice to give medicated feeds, pellets, or additives around the time of weaning to decrease the incidence of disease. Treating with these medicated feeds can be expensive, counterproductive to rumen function, and now requires a veterinary prescription due to the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD). Crystal Creek® formulates products that have natural ingredients proven to support calves during the stress of weaning and do not require the need for a VFD. Crystal Pellets and Heifer Pride are two products that can help give your beef calves a strong start.

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Ask The Vet / Ask The Nutritionist

We see sporadic outbreaks of ringworm in our livestock and can’t seem to get rid of it. What exactly causes ringworm and how can we prevent it?”  

-Puzzled in Pennsylvania

There are many producers across the nation who experience bouts of ringworm and struggle to get rid of it. Ringworm is caused by a contagious fungus called Trichophyton verrucosum. This fungus spreads easily throughout groups of livestock, especially those housed indoors. The spores multiply and spread rapidly, and can be picked up anywhere in the environment. Once an animal comes into contact with the spores, they irritate the skin and cause an infection.

Ringworm is classically observed as a variety of circular, grey-white scabs. It is most commonly seen on the facial area and around the eyes but can be found anywhere on the body1. Ringworm will typically resolve itself without treatment; however, this can take up to nine months2.

Many sources suggest different home remedies to cure ringworm but the surest way to address it is through prevention. Crystal Creek® recommends an examination of the nutritional support of the livestock and an inspection of their surrounding environment. A balanced nutrition program with sound trace minerals, including selenium, and Vitamins A, D, & E, aids in supporting the immune status of the animal. A strong immune system makes it more difficult for the fungal spores to infect the animal’s skin. Crystal Creek® offers an entire line of calf products formulated with high levels of bioavailable vitamins and minerals to support the immune system such as: Swift Start® Texturized Calf Feed, Swift Start® Calf Pellets, and Swift Start® Calf & Heifer Mineral. Many producers have observed ringworm all but leave their youngstock after switching to the Swift Start® program due to the improvement in vitamin and trace mineral quality.

In addition to sound nutrition, regular sun exposure will help reduce the incidence of ringworm. It is also a good idea to routinely clean any equipment used to handle animals. It is especially important to thoroughly clean grooming and show equipment, as items like brushes and halters can harbor spores over the winter and infect new animals the following spring. Remember that an animal does not need to have visible ringworm scabs to be carrying the infectious spores.

Lastly, ringworm, as with any disease, can be introduced to the herd from incoming animals. Isolating new animals for a set period of time will help to ensure that they are not carrying any transmissible diseases that may present with clinical signs after arrival. Focusing on these key preventative strategies will save much time and effort down the road with reduced ringworm outbreaks.

1  Purdue University Cooperative Extension Services
2  Langford Veterinary Services, University of Bristol

By Jessica Getschel, B.S.

Please submit your animal health or nutrition questions in writing to:

 

Crystal Creek®

Ask the Vet/Nutritionist

1600 Roundhouse Road

Spooner, WI 54801

OR

askthevet@crystalcreeknatural.com