Calf Care Workshop Hones Skills

Dale Thoreson, Field Specialist Dairy/Beef/Forages, Northeast

Problem Statement:

Baby dairy calves are very vulnerable to infectious diseases because they have no immunity at birth. They are also vulnerable to disease entering their body by mouth or the open umbilical cord. Calf care is often designated to one person on today’s dairy farm.

Programmatic Response:

ISU Extension, the NE IA Dairy Foundation and Northeast Iowa Community College collaborated on an overlapping ½ day workshop called “Get Her Off on The Right Hoof” which was conducted at the Dairy Foundation’s learning center and calf barn. A series of presentation and hands-on workshops gave participants the “whys” as well as the “how’s” to quality baby calf care.


Fourteen clients attended the workshop on an icy day. Iowa State University Extension, The Dairy Foundation and NICC each delivered a portion of the class room lecture and all cooperated on the Hands-on segment. A Pre-Post survey of participants was conducted to determine the level of awareness and skill building accomplished. On a scale of 1 to 10 participants moved from a 4.5 to 6.1 on “Understanding Best Management Practices”; From 5.63 to 7.0 on “Importance of Colostrum Feeding”; From a very low 3.75 to 6.0 on ‘The Importance of Testing Colostrum Antibodies”; From 6.2 to 6.75 on “Ability to Feed a Calf With an Esophageal Tube Feeder” (showing a fairly high level of expertise before the workshop on this topic); From 4.43 to 5.29 on “Ability to identify sick calves”;  and from 6.2 to 6.6 on “Ability to dock tails”. When asked if the participants came out of this workshop with a better under standing of current calf care skills and practices, all participants rated it and 8 (scale 1 to 10). And all participants said they would recommend the workshop to others. Further workshops are being offered to CEEDs as county programs or to larger dairies where several people care for calves.


111 Production Systems and Practices

Page last updated: August 25, 2008
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