DRINKING SLOWLY GIVES BETTER DIGESTION
Slow-drinking calves have to "work" to take in an amount of milk.
As a result, slow drinking stimulates saliva production. Saliva is necessary for the proper digestion of the absorbed milk.
That is why calves have foam around their mouths when they drink from the cow.
Saliva contains Lipase, the enzyme that digests fats.
Saliva also contains immunity-enhancing components and regulates the pH in the abomasum.
If the calf is drinking too fast, the milk can flow into the lungs, or (via the esophagus slot), into the rumen.
The milk will then ferment in the rumen , lactic acid is formed!
All this can lead to serious digestive problems, diarrhea or death of the calf.
Too fast milk intake is often the cause of nutritional diarrhea. Poorly digested milk often contains an excess of lactose. These sugars are a food source for harmful bacteria, which quickly turns nutritional diarrhea into an intestinal infection.
SIGNS OF CALVES DRINKING TOO FAST
Calves coughing while drinking,
calves sucking each other after drinking,
nutritional diarrhea in calves suckling each other,
damage and / or infections of the udder tissue, teats and / or navel in the calves.
HOW DOES THE CALF DIGEST MILK?
The milk enters the abomasum directly through the esophagus. This is done by the esophagus-slit reflex.
If the milk is not supplied through a teat, the esophagus-slit reflex will NOT work optimally.
The “pre-digestion” takes place in the abomasum. Subsequently, the nutrients present from milk are absorbed through the small intestine. Due to a higher daily milk supply, the various internal organs and the intestinal system develop better.
A well-developed intestinal system enables the animal to make better use of the nutrients. This greatly reduces the risk of nutritional diarrhea.
Calves that absorb more milk therefore have a small intestine that is approximately 2 meters longer. Optimal digestion reduces the development of harmful and bad bacteria in the colon.
In the colon there is no more significant digestion. Here, mainly moisture extraction (thickening) of the indigestible feed takes place.
Hygiene when supplying milk to calves is essential. Unfortunately at farms I sometimes see flies in the milk, rotten milk, dirty buckets and dirty teats. All this poses an additional risk to the health of the calves.
THE RIGHT TEAT DETERMINES THE RESULT
The teat of a lactating cow feels different from the teat of a teat bucket or drinking machine. If you consider that calves with the cow drink between 250 to 300 milliliters of milk per minute, then you can perfectly assess whether your artificial teats meet the needs of the calf.
"QUICKLY DONE WITH A FAST TEAT"?
Coughing calves, often letting go of the teat while drinking, these are signs of unnatural drinking behavior (too much milk from the teat).
“You will quickly finish drinking your calves”, but the problems described earlier, (in addition to reduced calves growth and development), will quickly erase this “gain of time”.
A GOOD BEGINNING IS HALF THE WORK, LET THEM GROW THE MAXIMUM FROM THE BEGINNING
Researcher Appleby (et al.) concluded in 2001 that calves with unrestricted milk access grew 2.4 times faster in the first 2 weeks of life than the control group of calves with limited feeding.
Lorenz et al. (2011) indicate that calves that suckle from the mother or calves that receive milk ad libitum consume about 20% of their body weight per day. These calves can grow more than one kg per day.
THEY DO NOT GROW FOREVER
At the age of 6 months, the strong youth growth is over. This means that the daily weight gain of the heifer must be limited to prevent fatty growth. To measure is to know, so check the breast size of the animal regularly if you cannot weigh it.
This extra effort pays off. Besides better developed heifers, these animals enter oestrus on average 4 weeks earlier, they give more milk per lactation and their "life expectancy" is on average 3 months higher.
The rearing period is the foundation and the basis of a successful dairy cow. Therefore, do not underestimate the influence of the daily amount of milk and the way it is supplied to the calf.