Milk Phase

After 2 days of high-quality colostrum (minimum Brix value 23%), the calf can switch to calf milk powder. At this age, only the abomasum has developed and milk goes to the abomasum. We recommend using a milking period from day 3 to about day 63. This starts with 2.5 liters twice a day and eventually 7 liters a day between the third and sixth week. With a concentration of 150 g/L, this means 1 kg of milk powder per animal per day, which is necessary for maximum youth growth. The phase-out schedule is at least as important to prevent a weaning dip.

Milk Phase


Calves can generally be weaned when the concentrate intake is 2 kg per day. It is important that the temperature of the milk in the (teat) bucket is 41 to 42 degrees, but above all, the temperature needs to be constant. Changes can influence drinking behavior. In addition to milk, it is important that fresh drinking water and concentrates and roughage are offered from the start. This is to stimulate the rumination activity as soon as possible and that starts from week 2. The milk can be supplied via different methods, traditional or stock method, depending on the type of milk powder. Consult with your young stock specialist which milk powder is best for you and your farm.

Rumen development, because a calf becomes a ruminant.

It is important to feed concentrates during the milk period and after the milk period. When feeding concentrates and roughage stimulate the development of the rumen papillae. It is important that it is palatable, contains enough nutrients and also that the calves get used to the taste, smell and structure at an early stage. But above all, the intake of proteins, fats and all other important nutrients need to be sufficient.

General rearing tips

  • Provide young stock pellets from the 1st week.
  • Fresh roughage (hay, alfalfa or chopped straw) from the 2nd week.
  • Provide fresh, clean and unlimited drinking water daily.
  • After at least 10 days of individual care, preferably housed in groups (depending on the rearing system).
  • Provide enough space. Housing calves separately from older cattle and the calving pen.
  • Ensure good hygiene, low stocking density, fresh air (avoid draughts!) and low humidity

Points of attention for automatic feeding

  • Place the machine in a dry, closed and well-ventilated area.
  • Set the machine to 150 grams of calf milk powder in the liter of water.
  • Clean and check the powder outlet opening daily.
  • Provide constant water pressure.
  • Calibrate the machine regularly.
  • Monitor the drinking behavior of the calves by checking the attention list several times a day.
  • Phasing out the milking schedule, and the time of weaning can vary per farm/per calf.

Benefits calf milk powders compared to raw milk

More than 75% of dairy farmers in the Netherlands use calf milk powders, and here’s why:
  1. The calf milk powders are of consistent quality and free of germs.
  2. Calf milk powders contain sufficient vitamins and minerals.
  3. Calf milk powders are less fat.
  4. The balanced composition ensures fast digestibility and good rumen development.
  5. Convenience: you can prepare calf milk powder whenever you need it and the temperature and concentration are always correct.
  6. Additional health support through any added health formulas.
  7. The rearing period is shorter, the use of antibiotics is lower.

Knowledge about milk phase for you.

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