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Ventilating A Retrofitted Stanchion Barn For Calves

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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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Understanding The Principles Of Calf Barn Ventilation

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

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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

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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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Pre-Engineered Tube Ventilation Systems

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Ryan Leiterman

By Ryan Leiterman, D.V.M.

What are the benefits of a pre-engineered positive pressure tube system?

Crystal Creek® is now handling pre-engineered tube systems. These duct systems have reduced set up and production time, lower material waste and use bulk shipments for lower freight costs; making the ducts less expensive when compared to a customized duct. Pre-engineered duct systems do not require a ventilation designer to engineer the system, further reducing costs.

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Providing A Clean Environment=Healthier Calves And Increased Profit

Click here to view as a pdf:  Providing A Clean Environment Equals Healthier Calves

Lorrie

By Lorrie Meister, CVT
Livestock Specialist

A clean environment is essential to successful calf raising. Housing, air quality and cleanliness of the surfaces the calf comes into contact with (hutches, panels, bottles, pails, feeders, etc.) all play a role in raising a healthy, robust animal. Many producers fall into habits of using certain products, or practices, to clean and disinfect surfaces because they have never considered, or have not taken the time to look for a better alternative.

For many years, bleach has been the most commonly used disinfectant on livestock operations.  While bleach is effective in some ways, it has several major downfalls. Cryptosporidium and giardia are two common pathogens that bleach will not control. A common misconception when cleaning facilities is if it looks clean, it is clean. Unfortunately, this is often not the case. Studies of bacterial loads in dairy farm environments have shown that only 10% of bacteria present is free floating. That leaves the remaining 90% of bacteria attached to surfaces or trapped in biofilms.1 Biofilms are a group of microorganisms which stick to each other and adhere to a surface. This representation of bacterial distribution proves how important the steps of sanitation (past the removal of gross debris) are in our cleaning protocols. Finding a disinfecting agent that can provide a broad spectrum of protection for your animals can be a challenge. Some agents work well in certain settings but not others. New studies have shown that chlorine dioxide is the best choice for on-farm sanitizing applications.

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