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Calves

CALF REARING

How we treat the calf, especially in its first few hours of life may have major consequences on how it thrives and performs later on in its life cycle. Calves deprived of colostrum are the calves that gain less weight, are more susceptible to scours and have higher mortality.

COLOSTRUM FEEDING

Some good tips are:

  • Use colostrum from the first milking for the first feed
  • Give colostrum within two hours from the calf’s birth
  • Give at least three litres of colostrum within the first feed
  • Feed colostrum at 15% of the calfs body weight

Below are some Colostrum feeding tips:

  • Try to get the calf to suckle 3 litres within the first few hours – as sucking stimulates an oesophageal groove within the calf’s body, allowing the milk to go into the abomasum chamber of the stomach where there is better absorption of nutrients. However, if this can’t be achieved, stomach tube the calf
  • Freeze colostrum within a few hours after first milking and if using at a later date thaw slowly at approximately 55°C
  • Do not feed waste milk to calves as it can lead to a higher bacteria load on the calf – which can contribute to diseases
  • Test colostrum quality by using either a refractometer or colostrum meter – looking for a reading of 50 grams/litre IgG

MILK REPLACER

When looking at milk replacers you should be looking out for the following points:

  • Aim for a Crude Protein content of at least 23%, predominately milk derived proteins to help stimulate growth and muscle development
  • Oil level typically between 18 ‐ 20%
  • Fibre less than 0.2%
  • Ash less than 8%
  • Pre and probiotics

CONCENTRATE FEEDING

Concentrate feeding to the calf even from a young age is of major importance. Concentrates, rather than hay / straw are what gets the rumen development (main stomach of cattle) to occur within the calf’s stomach – due to its starchy element. With this in mind concentrates should be offered as early as 3‐4 days from birth.

Quick tips on concentrate feeding are:

  • Feed little and often i.e. 100 ‐200 grams per calf in the first week or two
  • Calf starter should have palatable ingredients – molasses, flaked maize and rolled barley
  • Crude protein is high i.e. 18% and derived from high quality protein (soya bean meal/full fat soya)
  • Every kilogram of concentrate consumed requires four litres of water

FORAGE TYPE

Roughage is important but at the same time not as important as concentrates ‐ concentrates have a bigger role in developing the calf’s stomach.

  • Calves need small quantities of forage i.e. hay/straw
  • Avoid feeding too much especially hay as it can lead to pot belly calves
  • Pot belly calves indicates that the calf’s stomach (rumen) is full of forage which isn’t fully digested

NBG005: MILKY START CALF STARTER PENCIL

  • 18% high energy/protein nut – suitable feeding from 3 days of age until 6 mths of age
  • Contains optimal level of fibre to enhance rumen function – beet pulp/soya hulls
  • Formulated using energy sources such as maize, wheat & barley
  • Protein derived from soya bean, maize distillers & rapeseed meal
  • Contains Live Yeast to; aid the development of the rumen; stabilize rumen conditions; enhance nutrient absorption and encourage intake
  • Includes special flavours to enhance palatability & encourage intake
  • Contains whey to ease the transition at weaning from milk to concentrate
  • Contains hi spec calf minerals & vitamin package (*see page 9) – High Phosphorus
  • Contains full fat soya to maximise the available protein & energy density of the nut
  • Can be fed indoors along with straw or silage and similarly, at grass throughout the summer

CBG839: Pedigree no.3

  • 18% Crude Protein Ration suitable for feeding to calves from 7 – 10 days of age
  • Slow release buffer (live yeast) to ensure the calf’s rumen develops optimally. Hence, healthier rumen conditions, better nutrient absorption, intake and growth
  • Feed ad lib until calves are consuming 1.5 kg/hd/day
  • Contains hi spec calf minerals & vitamin package (*see page 9) – High Phosphorus
  • Also suitable for fast growing pedigree / show cattle ‐ no fillers included
  • Contains all you would expect in a feed designed to be fed to show cattle
  • Contains cooked maize to stimulate rumen digestion and nutrient absorption
  • Protein predominately consisting of soya bean meal to encourage frame & muscle development from an early age
  • Includes Molashine (molasses with added oils) to stimulate intake
  • Contains full fat soya to maximise the available protein and energy density of the blend

NBG004: Calf Rearing Nuts

  • A complementary 16% Crude Protein nut which is the ideal follow on from Milky Start Calf Pencils
  • Contains cooked ingredients to aid nutrient digestion & absorption
  • Main ingredients are wheat, maize, barley and rapeseed meal
  • High in digestible fibre
  • Ideal for feeding at grass
  • Fully balanced with minerals & vitamins
  • Max Feeding level – 5 kg per day
  • A palatable quality 18% Crude Protein calf crunch suitable for feeding from 4‐7 days of age up to 6‐8 months
  • Highly digestible and palatable with a high component of cooked cereals
  • Perfect ration to stimulate intake from an early age and stimulate rumen development in the new born calf
  • Premium calf minerals and vitamins to help promote growth
  • Includes a premium molasses with added oil to enhance palatability
  • Suitable for feeding to young cattle as a supplement to grass silage and at grass
  • Also suitable for pedigree cattle

*Hi Spec Calf Mineral & Vitamin Package contains the perfect blend of live yeast and essential Minerals & Vitamins designed to optimise thrive in young, growing cattle. High levels of Copper, Cobalt and Selenium combined with a unique blend of Vitamins E, B12 & D3 are standard in this mineral pack.