Calf Starter Grain: Critical to Weaning Transition

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The consumption of calf starter not only bolsters rumen development, but it can help assure a smooth weaning transition for calves, bridging the change from a liquid ration to a diet of solely dry feeds and water. Maintaining targeted growth rates and animal health can be dependent on calf starter intakes through this time.
 
According to Dairy Calf and Heifer Association Gold Standards, calves should at least double their birth weight by 56 days of age. The post-weaning growth rate depends on the target mature size, taking into account breed and genetic factors (DCHA). Calf starter is important to the pre-weaned calf for two reasons - it stimulates rumen development and as consumption increases, more nutrients are available to support growth.
 
Calves that are being weaned at about six weeks of age will be smaller and should each be consuming 2-3 pounds of starter per day for three consecutive days before weaning, according to the DCHA’s Gold Standards. We should expect calves being weaned at eight weeks of age to be eating 4-5 pounds of starter grain per calf each day for three consecutive days before weaning (DCHA).
 
For the full article on boosting calf starter intakes visit the Calf-Tel’s Calf Corner. 
 


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