How Much Calf Starter is Needed to
Meet Maintenance Demands?
I just read a recommendation in a popular dairy magazine that recommended weaning calves as soon as they have reached a calf starter intake level of 2-3 pounds a day.
The name for this recommendation is STARVATION!
Let's take a second to look at the facts.
Assume you have done a good job preweaning and the heifer calf has doubled her birth weight by 56 days - 90lbs to 180lbs. At this age she has been gaining about 2 pounds a day.
Feeding a 18%cp calf starter grain how much weight is this weaned heifer calf going to gain per day at these concentrate consumption levels? ("as-fed" starter grain weights)
Summer (60F or greater) Cold Weather (around freezing)
Pounds per day Pounds per day
Eaten Estimated Gain Eaten Estimated Gain
2# Weight Loss 2# Weight Loss
3# 1/2 pound gain 3# Weight Loss
4# 1 pound 4# 0.3 pound gain
5# 1.5 pounds 5# 0.9 pounds
Want to set up just-weaned heifers for pneumonia? Follow this recommendation to fully wean when eating 2-3 pounds starter per day.