Free-choice water is critical when you begin an accelerated milk-replacer program. Calves need the water to help them “chase” the higher level of protein and sugar found in these products, says Sheila McGuirk, veterinarian at the University of Wisconsin’s School of Veterinary Medicine. An abrupt change in the diet is a recipe for potential problems with Clostridium perfringens, which can lead to abomasal bloat in calves. “Calves can tolerate a lot, but we have to acclimate them,” she says.