Winter feeding — don’t just add fat

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Calves need extra nutrients to withstand cold temperatures. But the experts at Grober Animal Nutrition say it’s not as simple as adding a little more fat to their rations.

click image to zoom Fat must be digested, and providing extra energy by feeding more fat means that the calf has to expend energy to digest a diet that it may not be accustomed to. This can be challenging and upsetting to her digestive tract.

To compensate for changes in the weather, adjust a calf’s feeding program gradually and carefully and avoid providing extra calories from one nutrient alone. Here are some ways to provide a successful winter calf-feeding program:

1. Provide extra calories through a balanced feed, one to which calves are already accustomed.

2. Supply extra calories by providing an additional meal. This also helps ensure smooth digestion.

3. Don’t just add grain. Milk is much more digestible to a young calf than grain, so provide extra calories through milk or milk replacer.

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