Calf GroFacts

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Optimizing your calf feeding program = Sound Economics

The terms accelerated and enhanced have been used over the past 15 years to describe an increased plane of nutrition in calves.  However, calves require that increased nutrition in order to optimize growth.  Moreover, production objectives such as decreasing age at first breeding, improving health status, and ultimately building a more efficient and productive dairy cow is now an expected outcome of a calf nutrition program.

 The basis of the calf growth model

The calf’s digestive system… Continue reading

The Importance of a calf’s first meal

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Colostrum is the first milk produced after a cow gives birth; it is a nutrient dense, immunoglobulin rich milk designed for the newborn calf.  Delivering that milk with care is the key to ensuring that a calf’s immune system (immature at birth) starts to develop.  Making certain that this first immunological base is provided to young calves in a timely fashion will have a critical impact on the defense against health challenges common to young animals..

During the… Continue reading

Feeding Jersey Calves

General Recommendations:jersey calf

  • Always feed colostrum, the more the calf gets before 6 hours of birth the better

o   Aim for 4 litres within 6 hours and then another 2 litres before 24 hours

o  Colostrum can be fed for several days and there is some evidence that colostrum after 24 hours still has some immune benefits

o  Consider colostrum replacer, such as Calf’s Choice Total, as a part of a strong calf program

Optimizing your calf feeding program

The terms accelerated and enhanced have been used over the past 15 years to describe an increased plane of nutrition in calves.

However, calves require that increased nutrition in order to optimize growth.

Moreover, production objectives such as:

  • decreasing age at first breeding,
  • improving health status,
  • and ultimately building a more efficient and productive dairy cow is now an expected outcome of a calf nutrition program.

The basis of the calf growth model

The calf’s digestive system is immature and… Continue reading

Colostrum: The Most Important Meal

high quality PDF of this information

colostrum calf with bottle

Newborn animals are vulnerable to infection and disease. Immunoglobulins (Ig’s) are the first defence against disease and necessary for stimulation of the immune system.

Young ruminants (calves, lambs, kids) are born with negligible circulating concentrations of immunoglobulins (antibodies). Ig’s do not pass across the placenta prior to birth. Since there is no maternal sharing, ensuring that calves receive these Ig’s at birth is the only way to protect a newborn from environmental… Continue reading

Automatic Calf Feeders and Group Housing

Principles and Experience

Introduction

Producers have traditionally raised calves in individual pens or hutches. This rearing system has had advantages of individual feeding, observation and reduced risk of cross-contamination. It is however, still labour intensive. Dairy cattle are naturally group-living animals. Group-housed calves can enjoy an early social interaction and learn to understand group behaviour. Research is now proving that well-managed group housed calf rearing systems can provide advantages for both calves and producers.

calfonnippleAutomatic feeding systems for group housing… Continue reading

Veal calf feeding and pre-feed checking

This information is inteneded for those raising veal calves, housed individually.

  • Calves should be fed twice everyday.
  • Missed feeding means missed growth.
  • Calves should be fed as close to 9-12 hours apart as possible for optimum appetite and digestion. These times should remain as constant as possible as calves are creatures of habit. Irregular feeding times will result in more refusals, especially with older calves.
  • Two hours after feeding give water to all calves that didn’t drink half or… Continue reading

Water – an Essential Nutrient

Water accounts for 70-75% of young animal’s body weight and yet, is often overlooked as a necessary nutrient. Water is the nutrient required in greatest quantity by young animals.

What does the body need water for?

Basic metabolic functions need daily water intake to replace that which is continuously used or eliminated. I.e.: transporting nutrients (blood volume), excretion of waste products (urine and faeces), digestion of feed, maintenance of osmotic pressure, lubrication of joints and eyes, exchange of CO2 with… Continue reading

Happy Calves Drinking

Calves fed frequently (every 4 hours), with milk intakes of at least 8 litres/day are quieter.Alongside the advantage of better average daily gains (ADG), calf vocalization is significantly diminished when calves are fed at several intervals throughout the day. Better ADG is achieved by total dry matter intakes greater than conventional methods (averaging 10% of body weight per day).

The 2001 study done by Thomas et. al. (App. Anim. Sci., 74: 165-173) concluded that significant vocalization differences existed between groups… Continue reading

Choosing a Milk feeding program: Pasteurization Pro’s and Con’s

Heifers are the future profit earners of a milking herd. The largest cost inputs are feed and the number of day’s growth to achieve first calving. Raising healthy, strong calves must be a priority in maintaining herd profitability.

In the last few years, larger calf raising units and more attention being paid to rearing costs and profits, has made it interesting to look into the possibility of on farm pasteurization for waste milk.

Important criteria to consider in choosing a… Continue reading

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