Thursday, January 23, 2020

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.

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