Milk fed to calves in an ad libitum feeding program can spoil quickly in warm weather. However, new research from the University of British Columbia shows that you can limit the amount of time that milk is available free-choice without impairing growth.

During the study, calves offered milk free-choice for two hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon drank about 3 pounds less milk per calf per day than calves given continuous access to milk. However, growth rates still paralleled that of the calves offered milk all day long. In fact, all calves in the study averaged 2.4 pounds of gain per day.

All calves were housed individually and fed from a nipple-feeding system.

The study’s results are reported in the June Journal of Dairy Science.

June 2006 Journal of Dairy Science