Neonatal Calf Management Workshop: A Cool Experience for the Serious Calf Raiser

Mrs. Dianne Shoemaker, Extension Dairy Specialist, OSU Extension Center at Wooster

The future of every successful dairy operation depends on a steady supply of healthy, productive replacement heifers calving between 22 and 24 months of age. If the dairy is not expanding, sales of excess heifers should be an additional revenue stream for the farm. If the farm is raising calves for others, producing healthy, productive animals is essential to the long-term success of the calf raising enterprise.

This intense, 2-day workshop focuses on understanding and managing the calf from the calving process through weaning. Sessions on March 21st and 22nd include:

1) It's a girl!...managing the newborn (the same principles apply for those raising bull calves!);
2) Health diagnosis, treatment, and prevention;
3) Nutrition and growth; and
4) Managing the calf enterprise.

Hands-on labs include:

1) Assessing calf health;
2) Dealing with drugs and administering fluid therapy;
3) Why did this calf die? Posting a calf and studying calf anatomy; and
4) Avoiding on-the-job injury.

For the people working with calves, it is highly rewarding to work with a barn full of healthy, content calves. Dealing with chronic morbidity and mortality is discouraging for the people working with the calves and unprofitable, as well as unsustainable for the farm. From a purely economic perspective, with common calves less than a week old easily selling for $500 to $700 at local sale barns, dairy farms should strive for a death loss well under 5%.

The Neonatal Calf Management Workshop is designed for calf managers and care-givers who are dedicated to doing the best job possible raising their calves. A detailed agenda and registration materials are available to download at or by contacting Dianne Shoemaker at (330) 263-3799. Register early as class size will be limited to assure plenty of hands-on experiences for participants.

The Neonatal Calf Management Workshop will be held near Wooster on the campus of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. The calf workshop will be followed by another workshop focusing on the replacement heifer from weaning through growing, breeding and freshening in June 2006.