Monday, August 8, 2016

Benefits of Feeding 2nd, 3rd and 4th Milking to
Dairy Heifer Calves

Have you tried out a webinar? 

Dr. Robert James, retired professor of animal science at Virginia Tech, gave a webinar on calf rearing on Monday, August 8th. The webinar, "An Update on Raising Better Calves" was presented by Hoard's Dairyman and sponsored by DeLaval. The recording is available at http://www.hoards.com/webinars   or click HERE. You scroll to the bottom the page to find the archived webinars.

Among many other ideas, Dr. James made a point of talking about the value of feeding the "colostrum" or what is usually called transition milk that comes from the cow during the 2nd, 3rd and 4th milkings post calving. 

The first benefit is the increased presence of antibodies on the surface of the gut. They help defend the calf against the pathogens that enter the calf through her mouth. 

The next benefit is the continuing presence of assorted compounds that promote the normal development of the intestinal lining. They support the "normal" maturation that has to take place in the first few days of life. 

The other benefit is the enhanced nutrition (i.e., fat and protein) in this post-calving milk. Transition milk is much higher than regular milk in both fat and protein. Compared to powdered milk replacers often fed to calves after the first day of life this early post-calving milk is a very nutrient-rich feed. 

The entire webinar was a really rewarding hour for me. If you choose to watch and listen I am sure you will find at least one new idea for strengthening your calf management program. 

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