Because of the higher susceptibility of small calves to cold stress, researchers at Virginia Tech have developed a 25 percent fat milk replacer for Jersey calves.
Schroeder says that successfully managing calves during the winter also involves creating a dry, stress-free environment with deep bedding and protection from drafts and dampness. Calf coats can help reduce heat loss if they are kept dry.
“The fact that feeding management must change to enable calves to grow and resist digestive and respiratory disease is very apparent,” he says. “So don’t skimp on liquid feeding programs, especially during the first weeks of life when calf starter intake is low. Savings by limiting the feeding of milk or milk replacer to less than 1.5 gallons daily (12.5 to 15 percent solids) or using a poor-quality milk replacer may reduce feed costs, but it invariably contributes to increased treatment costs and possibly results in conditions that lead to increased mortality and a restriction in the animal’s lifetime performance.”