Following the colostrum period, calves should be fed clean whole milk from the vat or a good quality calf milk replacer (CMR).
Research has shown that calves can thrive on a good quality CMR that has the added benefits of prebiotics, vitamins, minerals and a coccidiostat.
- Start initial feeding 2 two hours after arrival with warm milk or electrolytes (such as Novolyte).
- Consider a quality probiotic (such as Biosupport) to help calves transition to their new environment.
- Clean the feed equipment and teats after each feeding.
- Check for slow-drinking calves that struggle to compete within the group. If necessary, re-group calves on drinking speed and vigour.
- Check milk temperature. Feeding warm (38-40°C) is recommended.
- Clean, fresh water must be available ad lib from day one.
- Calves should be fed at the same time each day.
- Offer a good quality forage source (e.g. chopped grass hay, pasture, chopped silage), plus a grain-based starter, from week 1. The solid feed offered should be tailored to suit the rearing system selected. Calves can be reared successfully on high levels of milk (e.g. 8L/day) plus good quality forage.