Grain-only phase (8 to 12 weeks)
After calves are weaned, they rely on complete feeds as their sole source of nutrition.
“Some operations that I work with leave calves in a hutch or pen for up to 12 weeks of age,” says Underwood. Once calves reach 12 weeks old, these calf raisers begin introducing a calf grower feed so that their calves can transition more easily to a diet higher in fiber.
As calves continue to grow, starter consumption increases significantly. It is important to not limit intake at this stage of development. It also is important not to let calves go periods of time without starter. Some animals may slug feed when it does become available and this could lead to bloat.
To help achieve optimal growth, calf starter should always be fresh, dry and readily available. By working closely with your calf feeders, over-consumption and under-consumption of feed can be prevented, says Underwood. Doing so can allow your calves to get the most out of the nutrients you provide them so that they are able to keep growing and become productive cows with greater profit potential.