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By Susan Casey
Once a day feeding OAD is becoming increasingly popular on farm given increasing herd size and shortage of farm labour. If done correctly OAD can reduce the labour involved in feeding calves.
By law calves must be fed milk twice a day until they reach ten days of age, they can then move onto once a day milk feeding assuming they are taking in enough concentrates and forage. The calf must however receive two feeds until 28 days old. It is unlikely that the calves stomach will be large enough to consume enough milk in one feed to provide the adequate energy for maintenance and desired growth at 10 days of age. It would be recommended to wait until calves are 3-4 weeks of age, by then they will be able to consume enough concentrates and forage, and will be able to take a larger volume of milk in one feed.
It is important to stimulate and develop the calf’s rumen straight away. Calves should be provided with a good course calf starter feed such as Prime Elite Krispi Kaf by Dairygold. The benefit of using a course feed over a pelleted feed is that a calf will be more inclined to eat the course feed over the pellet, also the course feed will result in more chewing and saliva secretions, aiding digestion and increased villi in rumen. Calves can be moved to a nut once they are consuming 250-300g/calf/day. It is important to also have forage available to the calf ideally straw, this will help to build the muscles in the rumen wall.
When feeding OAD any good quality milk replacer can be used. The important thing is the concentration of the milk replacer fed. The aim is to get the calves daily energy requirement and desired growth requirement into the one feed. Again, it is very difficult to do this if the calf is too young as its stomach/abomasum is too small to consume enough milk in one feed. We would recommend feeding calves at 20% solids. This involves taking 3 litres of water and adding 750g of milk replacer.
When moving from twice a day to OAD feeding the following steps should be followed:
On the day before going to once a day – feed the calves their 3 litre morning feed as normal but don’t feed them in the evening. The calves should be fed in the following way for a smooth transition from twice a day feeding to once a day feeding.
Transitioning calves to OAD milk replacer
|Day 0||3Ltrs Whole Milk/ CMR||2.625 ltrs water + 375grms CMR|
|Day 1||3.5 ltrs CMR||3 ltrs water + 500grms CMR|
|Day 2||3.6 ltrs CMR||3 ltrs water + 600grms CMR|
|Day 3||3.75 ltrs CMR||3 ltrs water + 750grms CMR|
|Day 4- start weaning||3.75ltrs CMR||3 ltrs water + 750grms CMR|
For any further information on our Prime Elite Milk Replacer range contact Dairygold’s Calf Milk Replacer Specialist Susan Casey on 087-0671246 or Inside Sales on 022-31644.