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Spring-cleaning items for your Dairy Wellness to-do list

March 13, 2017
POSTED BY: Doug Hammon | DVM, PhD | Managing Veterinarian | Dairy Technical Services | Zoetis

Spring is in the air, and while spring-cleaning typically means deep cleaning your house, your dairy could benefit from some sprucing up, too. Whether it’s milking protocols, curtain maintenance or fine-turning vaccination programs, it’s important that no areas are missed so you can reach your Dairy Wellness goals and improve profitability. 

Healthy Calves

 If you pasteurize whole milk for feeding calves, ensure your pasteurizer is functioning properly. Temperature changes can affect your pasteurizer’s temperature setting, so you may need to adjust it. Use a thermometer to check the accuracy of the pasteurizer’s recording thermometer and monitor milk temperature prior to every feeding. Continue to clean and sanitize your pasteurizer after each daily use.

 Replace calf buckets with scratches and cracks and replace worn calf nipples and bottles. Worn feeding equipment is difficult to properly clean and can harbor harmful bacteria.

Remove calf blankets and jackets once the temperature is above 50° F. Machine wash them with standard detergent and dry blankets and jackets before storing them in plastic bags or containers.

Prepare for summer temperatures dehydration in calves by having electrolyte feeding protocols in place and electrolyte supplies on hand.

Robust Heifers

 Chip away any manure buildup in front of bunk space to prevent prefresh hoof problems.

 Pitch out feed bunks to eliminate old feed and mold buildup.

Productive Cows

Scrub tanks and drinking cups by diluting ½ cup bleach in 5 gallons of water to help minimize bacteria to ensure your cows are consuming high-quality water. Milk consists of 87% water.1 Poor-quality water can be a limiting factor for how much milk cows produce.

June, July and August are common dairy calving months across the United States. Check cow freshening inventory. What is the number of animals that will be freshening? Are your close-up and fresh pens ready to provide a comfortable environment and avoid overcrowding?

Evaluate milking equipment function and follow procedures to provide a comfortable milking environment.

 Prepare for summer by ensuring sprinklers, fans, soakers, etc. are working properly and ready to be used when hot temperatures hit your dairy.


Work with your veterinarian to re-evaluate vaccination and treatment programs for calves, heifers, lactating cows and dry cows.

Ensure all farm standards meet your state’s farm inspection manual. Do you need to repair any floors, windows or drains in your milk house or barn/freestall/parlor? Are all of your equipment and utensils stored properly? Are all your lightbulbs working?

Roll curtains for adequate ventilation. Before rolling your curtains, we recommend cleaning them and repairing holes so when colder temperatures arrive and you need to unroll them, they are in good condition and help keep out drafts.

Go through your dairy medicine inventory. Check expiration dates and properly discard outdated products. Make an inventory list of the existing products as well as what you may need to restock. Also make sure you are storing products for lactating and nonlactating cattle separately and that their locations in storage are labeled appropriately.

Carry out a fridge audit. Clean and wipe down the fridge. Ensure fridge temperature settings are correct and products are placed in their proper locations.

Get ready for flies. Flies spread pathogens and can cause multiple factors that decrease overall production. An approved fly control method from your veterinarian needs to start before flies become abundant and begin to multiply. Properly manage manure and vaccinate for pinkeye.

Work with your veterinarian to go through your spring-cleaning checklist and help provide possible additional areas that your dairy will benefit from by cleaning up, organizing and reevaluating.

1 Milk Composition: Water. University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign ANSC 438 website. http://ansci.illinois.edu/static/ansc438/Milkcompsynth/milkcomp_water.html Published 2010. Accessed February 25, 2016.




  • Prefresh hoof care — a step toward lactation success


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