« Agriculture

How Often You Feed Your Calves Makes a BIG Difference

by Randy Shannon

The PDPW always has great insights into raising calves. This month they had an article on changing feed times for better efficiency.

FEED CALVES THREE TIMES PER DAY AND WATCH THEM GROW . If you want to boost feed efficiency and improve average daily gain of your calves, then switch from feeding calves twice a day to three times a day. Trials conducted at the USDA Forage Research Center by Don Sockett, DVM, PhD, with the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, compared calves fed a milk replacer three times daily versus a control group fed the same milk replacer twice daily. The only difference between the two groups was the number of meals-two vs. three- to the calves each day. All the calves were fed at 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. Calves fed three times a day received an additional meal at 2:30 in the afternoon. Calves fed three times daily grew taller and longer, with added pounds of lean growth. More good news is that Sockett's research found that the third feeding didn't add a lot of extra labor.

FEEDING CALVES THREE TIMES A DAY HAS ADDITIONAL BENEFITS . Work by Don Sockett, DVM, PhD, with the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, shows that 97.1 percent (34 of 35) of the calves in the three times a day calves-8 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 9 p.m.-entered the lactating herd whereas only 80.0 percent (28 of 35) of calves fed two times per day entered the milking herd. Thus, for every six calves fed three times a day, one additional heifer entered lactation. Calves fed three times per also averaged 1,136 pounds more of milk and calved 16 days earlier.

These articles reprinted by permission from the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin. www.pdpw.org