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MAXIMUM GROWTH OF YOUR CALVES FROM THE FIRST DAY: THE BEST OPTION, BUT NOT SELF-EVIDENT (part 2)

 

 

A LONGER PERIOD OF PREGNANCY GIVES HEAVIER CALVES

Every farmer knows that as the duration of the pregnancy increases, the calf's birth weight will normally also increase.

This effect is greater in heifer calves than in bull calves.

Calves from older cows that have calved several times are also usually heavier.

 

"SUMMER CALVES VERSUS WINTER CALVES"

Measurements over several years showed that “summer calves” are structurally lighter in weight than “winter calves”.

(42.10 Kg versus 42.65 Kg).

 

THE ACTUAL WEIGHT GAIN

The weight gain is relatively greater in lighter calves during the first 80 days of life than in their heavier counterparts.

In an absolute sense, however, the heavier calves continue to grow faster.

The heavier calves have an extra growth spurt between 80 and 450 days.

DO WE FEED TO THE NEEDS OF THE CALF?

I often hear (and see) that the calves are “vital” in the opinion of their caretakers. But what is vital?

 

Some definitions as I often hear them in practice:

"The calves always jump to their feet when I come and insist to drink"

"They empty the bucket in no time, that's a clear sign of vitality to me"

If I then ask how many liters these calves get per day, it rarely exceeds 6 liters.

The youth growth potential cannot be optimally utilized in this way.

Some people are also very creative with regard to the number of grams of milk powder per liter of water.

 

For me there is only one advice:

ALWAYS USE MINIMUM CONCENTRATION AS PRESCRIBED BY THE MANUFACTURER

I deliberately write MINIMUM, because a slightly increased concentration of milk powder, both in summer and in winter, immediately shows EVEN better growing calves as a result. 

 

It is a wrong idea to dilute the concentration of milk powder per liter of water (in connection with weaning, or to get the calf used to solid food).

The calf will drink the “white water” quickly, so that the animal's hunger is gone. The concentrate and roughage then remain.

The consequence:

poorly growing and weak calves.

 

** Every dairy farmer knows that milk from our milk tank contains more nutrients than the "skimmed milk" from the supermarket.

Still, a glass of skimmed milk quenches thirst in many people ...