Paul and Sara Fischer milk 60 cows and raise all their calves. They use Brigade® with the calves and Dry Cow™ Formula in their dry cows. Bottle calves are housed in poly crates and after weaning they move through a series of small pens. CRYSTALYX® helps them manage an economical and low input diet. Growth rates are excellent and they have been able to breed heifers earlier since using the CRYSTALYX® program. The average age at first calving is 22-23 months.
“We prefer to use as little antibiotics as possible and Brigade® really helps keep the calves from getting sick,” according to Sara. We feed a non-medicated milk replacer, Hubbard’s Calf Beginner with BioMos®. We wean them after they are eating enough grain and then move them into the first pen. I put some grain on the Brigade® to help the calves find the grain. Even with the severe cold, we did not lose any calves this winter. They have clean, bright coats and make the pen moves easily.
Paul states, “In general, CRYSTALYX® is helping us have healthy animals. We have very few fresh cow problems and very little edema. We have tried getting by without Dry Cow™ Formula, but each time retained placentas become a problem. It really helps manage the variable intake and small group size. It helps springing heifers when they are mixed with dry cows. Using CRYSTALYX® is a real time saver. With the variable size of dry cow and calf pens, we would be going around the barn top dressing mineral to each group.
Lower vet bills have been a benefit of using CRYSTALYX.® “The only time we see the vet is during regular herd checks. I have to go back to last fall before there is a charge for anything else.”