Calf Nutrition

CALF NUTRITION

Proper management of young calf is prerequisite to the success of any dairy farm. An optimal level of nutrition in early life favours faster growth and early maturity. Calves should be reared carefully to obtain optimum gain in body weight, so that they attain about 70-75 percent of mature body weight at puberty. Poor feeding of young calves leads to higher age at first calving and overall loss of productivity in the life span.

Important aspects of calf feeding:

  1. Colostrum feeding within half an hour of birth
  2. Feeding whole milk/ milk replacer to calves
  3. Introduction of calf starter/good quality grain from 2nd week onwards
  4. Good quality hay should also be given to calves
  5. Deworming and vaccination

Calf nutrition

FEEDING SCHEDULE
Calf feeding schedule (birth to 26th of week of age)

Period

Colostrum/ Whole Milk (kg/day)

Calf starter (kg/day)

Good quality hay* (kg/day)

Green fodder* (kg/day)

0-2 days

1.5-2.0 (colostrum)

--

--

--

3-4 days

1.5-2.0 (milk)

--

--

--

4-14 days

1.0-1.5 (milk)

0.10

0.10

--

3rd week

0.5-1.0 (milk)

0.20

0.15

0.75

4th week

Milk  (0.5 kg) or milk replacer  (0.25 kg) can be fed, if available with progressive dairy farmers & having good economic conditions

0.25

0.20

1.25

5th week

0.40

0.30

2.0

6th week

0.50

0.40

2.5

7th week

0.60

0.60

3.0

8th week

0.70

0.80

3.5

9th week

0.80

0.90

4.0

10th -11th wk

1.00

0.90

5.0

12th week

1.20

1.00

5.0

13th -16th wk

1.50

1.20

6.0

17th -20th wk

--

1.75

1.50

7.5

21st -26th wk

--

2.00

2.0

8.0

Note: *Requirement of hay and green fodder may vary from breed to breed & body weight of calf. Colostrum feeding is very essential during early life of calf.

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