Thursday, April 4, 2013

Weaning without crashing

I am composing for the first time on a smart phone. Whew!
 tuesday I had a discussion with dairymen from around the US about intensive feeding programs for preweaned calves. All of them were feeding between 6 and 9 qts past. milk or a high protein milk replacer mixed @ 15% solids (10 oz makes 2 qts).

All of them had the same experience - calves grow well on lots of milk, calves on lots of milk do not eat much starter grain, whenthey do begin eating grain it is later than whenthey were feeding much less milk.  and, we all are having difficulty maintaining good growth rates after weaning.

That line of discussion moved right into the biology of rumen delopment (how fermentation of starter drives papillae growth, 3 weeks to get enough papillae surface to absorb enough energy for both maintenance and growth for 180 lb calf). We all agreed to review our weaning programs - cut back on milk early enough to get inreased starter intakes long enough to have adequate rumen development before dropping all milk.

[Wrote this one on Wednesday evening - somehow it never was posted - so much for smart phones.]

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