In his presentation to attendees at the recent Vita Plus Calf Summit in Onalaska, Wis., Noah Litherland, Dairy Youngstock Technical Specialist with Vita Plus, discussed his “Rule of 24” for feeding starter grain to preweaned calves.

His rule is:

The distance from the ground to the bottom of the inside of the bucket should not be greater than 24 inches.

Litherland said placing grain pails higher will discourage intake and delay growth and rumen development. He also shared data that showed calves arrived at a consumption rate of 0.5 pounds of grain per day a full two days faster when grain was fed from a shallow pan versus a pail.

In addition, he noted that feeding smaller, more frequent milk-replacer meals has been shown to increase daily starter-grain consumption by eight weeks of age. He also cited a number of feeding trials that indicated feeding calves on a higher plane of liquid nutrition slightly suppresses early starter grain intake.

To view a summary of Litherland’s full presentation and his slides, follow this link: