5 important factors when feeding a milk replacer

Over the past few years, there has been a trend towards the use of calf milk replacers due to herd expansion, disease control, nutrition and the targets that farmers want to achieve.

Paul Kennedy, Ruminant Business Manager with Interchem and PharVet, outlines some key points when choosing and feeding milk replacers and some tips when weaning your calves.

Considerations when choosing a milk replacer

Firstly, ask for assistance with your veterinarian advisor or your merchant.

Refer to the ingredients on the bag. Look for a high level of dairy-based protein. Recent research has indicated that the use of high-performance milk replacers using a high protein content such as a 26% protein product, such as ProHeifer replacer, leads to earlier weaning weights, earlier weaning time and extra performance. The higher the protein level in milk replacers, the more it maximises the performance with calves.

To avail of a special offer on ProHeifer/ProCalf milk replacer, complete this form by clicking here

How to mix and feed your milk replacer?

  1. What is the mixing rate? You will find this indicated at the back of the bag. For ProCalf it is 125g/L and for ProHeifer it is 150g/L.
  2. Mix the milk replacer with the water at 50-55°, top up with cold water and feeding it at 39-40°. This ensures the esophageal groove is activated and the milk goes into the right area of the stomach.

To avail of a special offer on ProHeifer/ProCalf milk replacer, complete this form by clicking here

How to check the mixing rate of your milk replacer

  1. Use a refractometer.
  2. Place a drop of the milk replacer onto the glass. This will give you a reading to determine if you are feeding at the correct level. For example a reading of 12.5 will indicate feeding 125g/L.

Importance of cleanliness

Ensure your measuring jug is kept clean for accurate measurements. Often on farms, there’s a residue of old milk replacer in the jug. This can be up to 10% difference on your feeding rate.

To avail of a special offer on ProHeifer/ProCalf milk replacer, complete this form by clicking here

What weight or age should I wean my calves?

  1. A calf should be a minimum of double its birth weight.
  2. It should be eating a minimum of 1kg of concentrate per head per day to ensure it’s getting adequate nutrition for weaning.

Further information

Interchem supplies a range of milk replacers for calves and lambs. ProMilk which is 20% protein, ProCalf which is 21% protein, a premium product ProHeifer which is 26% protein and ProLamb for lambs.

For more information, visit: www.procalf.com.

Calf rearing can be a complex challenge. Interchem has recently developed a calf-rearing booklet. To get your free copy of Interchem’s calf rearing booklet, complete this form