As future ruminants, calves benefit from the early introduction of solid feed to help their rumen develop. This, along with smooth transitions from one feed to the next will make for healthy calves and good growth rates.
Respiratory illness in calves is a common problem. These illnesses can be difficult to resolve, and they affect the long-term growth and productivity of calves. The best approach is to try to avoid respiratory disease arising in the first place; luckily, there are some management techniques that can help keep calves healthy.
Early rumen development is a vital part of the nutrition corner, ensuring the animal is weaned from liquid to solid feed as quickly and cost effectively as possible. This then enables calves to utilise fibrous feeds and convert into meat or milk; an essential requirement of profitable production.
Whether you farm dairy or dry stock, raising strong, healthy calves is vital for the future of your business. Doing this successfully requires growth targets, regular monitoring and an appropriate feeding strategy.
Rearing calves for beef can be a fickle business. What differentiates successful operators is the effort they spend on planning and ensuring quality – from sourcing their animals to their choice of feed. And therein lies the best advice.
When it comes to rearing calves, be it for replacement heifers or dairy beef, some basic nutritional guidelines make a notable contribution to overall success. They can be easily incorporated into any approach and will deliver good rewards.
The aim of all calf rearing programmes is to grow calves rapidly to target weights and develop them into productive milking cows. This is achieved through a combination of nutrition, management and health. All calves need clean, fresh water from day one and should be offered good quality calf meal. With a multitude of calf meal options available making an informed choice is important, so what should you look for?