Feeding management is the basis for a healthy calf

A good start is half the work. This saying certainly applies to the newborn calves. The right strategy for colostrum management, the milk period and weaning ensures that young calves have a solid foundation for a long and productive life. Here 2 tips from our youngstock ­specialist Coco Bruyere.

Tip 1: ensure a good transition from colostrum to milk powder

The importance of plenty and fresh colostrum, given frequently and as soon as possible after birth cannot be underlined often enough for a healthy start. “The preference is two days of colostrum for the newborn calf,” Coco Bruyère says, adding that a mix of colostrum and milk powder is recommended on day three. “For a smooth transition from colostrum to milk powder. That is of great importance for a diarrhea-free rearing.” She emphasizes the importance of starting milk powder on day three. “Colostrum or cow’s milk has a different composition, mainly due to a different fat content.”

Tip 2: keep the milk powder concentration constant

There is a standard feeding schedule on the milk powder bag. “For a more intensive rearing, for example, you can opt for a more intensive feeding schedule.” The youngstock ­specialist is very clear about the concentration: “keep this concentration the same throughout the rearing period. Even when the liters of calf milk replacer is increased or reduced. The calves are used to that concentration.” When the outside temperature drops below 15 degrees in winter, calves need more energy to stay warm. ‘An option is to give the calves more volume of milk, but then also ensure that the concentration remains the same.’