Today the high temperature at Maddox Dairy was over 100!  But just because the weather gets hot doesn’t mean farmers take a break.  Even in smokin’ weather here’s a typical day of raising calves on the farm.  Everything gets rolling bright and early at 5:30 a.m.  First the calves are given fresh grain.  Then they are bedded with wood chips.  Next the calves get very exited because they know their milk (out of two feedings) is coming!  In preparation, the milk is brought over from the pasteurizer inside the machine you see above, the mooooving milk tank (not to be confused with a cow ;)) If more milk is needed than what’s been given from the cow hospital, a 20% fat and 20% protein milk replacer and hot water are added to make up the difference.  A 2X High Potency Vitamin Mixture and Bovamine are also mixed in the milk to give the calves an extra edge for health and growth purposes.  Beyond those two mixtures calves under 21 days of age are given an antibacterial, called NeoMed 325, in the milk to support good health.  Next a refractometer measures the milk for consistent and adequate solids (milkfat and protein).  Then when the milk is between 105 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit, we can start feeding!  The calves are fed certain quantities of milk according to their age.  So as they get older, they receive more.  Following the milk, calves are also given Dairy Lyte Electrolytes every morning in the summer.  Regardless of how many calves, they are all fed in the same order every day.  Calves only receive a bottle for three days, and on day four are trained to a bucket.  As the calves are being fed, Nato, the calf manager checks each calf (yes, all now 900 of them).  If he finds a sick calf, he will leave a sign for it to be checked and then it will be treated as soon as possible.  Jesus and Nato treat the sick calves.  After feeding, Jesus and Nato walk through the barns and by all of the hutches looking for signs of sickness such as heavy breathing, which could be pneumonia, and treat the calves accordingly.  They make a note of the date and what they treated the calf with on each calf’s paper (as you see above to the right in the ‘Hey baby!’ photo).  They also write down the date, the treatment and the calf’s herd number in a notebook.  Later Nato and Jesus fill out a daily calf report that will be put into the herd DHI plus computer records system.  Calves are also on a strict vaccination schedule, allowing them to build their immune system for a healthy and strong future.  Beyond all of that, calves ready for weaning are moved into new pens together.  During down times of the day cleaning as well as daily maintenance of the equipment, barns and hutches takes place.  Lastly, with the hot weather, water is given as many times as needed by the reliable, Gustavo, pictured above.  


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