Every perspective matters in dairy calf nutritionEvery perspective matters in dairy calf nutrition
Calves need the right nutrition at the right time.
April 3, 2017
Calf nutrition programs come in many varieties, and every calf raiser has unique goals. The best calf nutrition program is one that delivers the best results to meet individual needs.
“We understand calf raisers’ goals are not all the same. Regardless of your goals, it’s important to provide calves with the right nutrition at the right time, every time,” said Sara Sievert, director of commercial business development at Milk Products.
Use the following nutritional tools to help optimize calf health from birth to weaning:
1. Quality colostrum sets the stage for lifetime performance. Getting newborn calves off to a great start begins with feeding high-quality colostrum. In general, the sooner calves get colostrum — and the higher the amount of colostrum fed at first feeding — the better the transfer of immunity.
When high-quality maternal colostrum is not available, feed colostrum replacers derived from bovine colostrum. A highly concentrated colostrum replacer should provide at least 150 g of globulin protein per calf feeding to achieve successful passive transfer
2. Whole milk helps make a good thing even better. Whether feeding whole milk or a combination of whole milk and milk replacer, find the balance that’s right for the calves. Whole milk supplements can help enhance or extend an operation's current whole milk supply.
Whole milk balancers can help optimize the protein-to-fat ratio to support accelerated-growth calf nutrition programs.
Whole milk extenders are formulated to help minimize pasteurized milk supply inconsistencies. They also help deliver protein and fat for economical daily gain while providing calves with necessary vitamins and organic trace minerals.
Whole milk fortifiers can help provide calves with a consistent amount of vitamins and organic trace minerals, which are often deficient in whole milk.
3. Maintain a toolbox of calf health solutions. Taking proactive measures can help mitigate calf health challenges. If health issues do arise, having a selection of health solutions on hand can help provide calves with the additional support they need.
Some key proactive calf health solutions include:
* Keep calves hydrated. Choose an electrolyte that does more than just rehydrate. Look for a product to hydrate, energize and colonize beneficial microbes in a calf’s gut at the onset of a health challenge.
* Help build calf immunity. Take a proactive stance on health with immunity support supplements to help balance gut microflora and antioxidant activity in a calf’s digestive system.
* Treat scours and pneumonia. At the onset of scours or pneumonia, streamline the calf health regimen by using a treatment concentrate that can be easily added to non-medicated milk replacers. Treatment concentrates may be affected by Veterinary Feed Directive rules. Be sure to check with a veterinarian before using them.
* Keep pesky flies away. An economical way to add fly control to whole milk or milk replacer is by using a fly control add-pack.
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