Calf weaning Calf weaning

Calf weaning

Weaning has a significant impact on the growth and health of calves. Our simple and straightforward advice makes weaning very effective, to improve calf development and growth after weaning is finished.

Intensive calf milk feeding programmes require more time for weaning

Milk should be reduced gradually over a period of 3-4 weeks and not stopped earlier than at 9-10 weeks of age, all aiming at adequate rumen development. A well-designed programme improves dry feed intake - and growth - before and after weaning. Adding forage plays a key role in supporting rumen development and health. Finally, offering clean, fresh water ad-libitum is essential.

How much calf starter a calf should eat when weaned

Calves like milk a lot. Milk is their feed by nature and it is very nutritious. The nett energy level in milk solids is around 2 times higher than in calf starter feed. This means that for every liter of milk lowered (containing 130-150g milk solids), a calf needs to consume 250 gram of calf starter feed. At weaning a calf should consume at least 1,5 – 2 kg calf starter a day.

LifeStart intensive milk feeding strategies give farmers the support they need to make a critically important, well-designed weaning strategy.
Georgina Thomas, Young Animal Feed Manager GB

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I feed chopped straw to my calves when they only consume around 100 grams a day?

Chopped straw is fed to young calves for the fibrous structure it provides. The fibre in straw stimulates the rumen-muscle contraction and development, which has a positive impact on calf starter intake; for every 50 grams of straw, the calf consumes 500 extra grams of calf starter!

What are the main limitations of calf starter intake?

Several factors influence calf starter intake: taste, free availability, feed bunk space, nutrient composition, water availability, forage provision and age difference in groups.


LifeStart Weaning Protocol

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Our Youngstock team consists of:

Georgina Thomas - Young Animal Feed Manager

Dr. Laura Tennant - Young Animal Feed Technical Advisor

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Our offering for weaning management

LifeStart programme

LifeStart programme

Dairy heifer management has a big influence on farm economics. The age at first calving is an important parameter that influences average lifetime daily production. Increased growth rates achieved using the LifeStart programme lead to a lower age at first calving. This has the obvious benefit of bringing forward the start of first lactation, increasing the potential production of the dairy heifer whilst lowering the overall cost of production.

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You can find out all about innovative calf to heifer rearing solutions on the LifeStart website.

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