Since new-born calves depend on milk for most of their energy needs, it is especially important to adjust the liquid ration for cold conditions. Here are some practical tips.
“Calves are more susceptible to cold stress than older animals, due to their low body fat reserves and larger surface-area-to-body-mass ratio, which causes them to lose body heat more rapidly,” says Skip Olson, technical services veterinarian for US company Milk Products. During the first 3 weeks of life, calves rely almost solely on the milk ration to meet their nutrition needs. It is therefore important to adjust the liquid ration for cold conditions to prevent that calves stop gaining and possibly even lose weight.
Here are 3 main ways to adjust the milk ration and help young calves meet the demands of cold weather:
“By far the best method to feed more nutrition is to feed the same diet more frequently during the day,” Olson advises. “Not every farm can adjust to feeding 3 times per day, but if they can manage to do it for just new-born calves, an important need can be met.”
Boosting milk replacer feeding rates requires attention to other details to keep calves in balance. Olson offers the following advice for effectively transitioning calves to winter rations:
Source: Milk Products