Are your calves getting the right nutrition from their transition milk?

A milk replacer has been formulated to provide the antibodies and nutrition calves gain from the lactation on days two and three without disease transmission risks associated with feeding pooled cow milk.

Colostrum is critical to calf health but so too is transition milk, the milk produced by the cow immediately after colostrum and before whole milk.

If calves are introduced to whole milk or milk replacer on day two of life they will miss out on half of the protective antibodies the cow had intended her calf to ingest.

Bonanza Calf Nutrition has developed a solution with Transformula, the only transition milk replacer on the market.

Dr. Christine Cummins, of Bonanza Calf Nutrition, says transition milk has higher levels of fat and protein than regular milk replacer and also constituents that boost the immune system of calves.

“Whole milk does not have this,’’ she explained.

Even though a calf can’t absorb antibodies into its blood stream, it can still be physically protected along the lining of its gut, Dr. Cummins added.

“This is vital because the gut is still porous and extremely susceptible to disease at this time. This is why nature created transition milk and why Bonanza Calf Nutrition created Transformula.’’

Transformula can be fed for seven to 10 days and, if disease challenges are high, for up to 21 days before switching to regular milk replacer, Dr. Cummins recommends.

The digestibility of Transformula is optimal for baby calves – there are more than 200g of low heat skim milk, buttermilk and concentrated whey protein in every 300g of feed and a blend of six oils, which increases digestibility of fat for the calf.

“It is important to have a good mix of short, medium and long-chained fatty acids,’’ said Dr. Cummins.

Preventing illness in newborn calves

Importantly, Transformula is not only extremely digestible, its natural ingredients help to maximise the immunity of the calf to fight infections such as rotavirus, cryptosporidium and pneumonia.

Transformula not only provides a smooth transition for newborn calves from colostrum to regular milk, it helps counteract stress too.

“The first days of life are extremely stressful for the calf as they try to adapt to their new surroundings while ingesting many pathogens,’’ said Dr. Cummins.

“Similarly, moving calves to a new location whether it is through a mart or on a lorry directly, their stress levels will skyrocket, leaving them extremely vulnerable to contracting disease.’’

By counteracting the stress of transporting and mixing calves, Transformula can prevent illness and growth checks.

“It makes life easier for both the calves and calf carers, saving money in the process,’’ said Dr. Cummins.

It contains 10 times the level of anti-scour agents found in standard calf milk, including plant extracts which ensure the small intestine is a hostile environment for pathogens such as cryptosporidium, resulting in a reduction in calf treatments such as electrolytes.

Transformula also contains buttermilk which reduces stomach upset and feed refusals as it acts as an emulsifier, enhancing fat breakdown, and it has a lactic acid flavour.

It also contains prebiotics – good bacteria that can compete with the bad bacteria the calf is picking up in the environment. Additionally, it contains a blend of Omega 6:3 oils that increase the calf’s ability to combat pneumonia.

Transformula is extremely palatable and easily mixed. There is 140g of powder in 1L of mixed milk – it can be mixed by adding a 1L jug of powder to 3.5L jugs of water to produce 4L of mixed milk; this will be enough milk replacer to feed two calves per feed. The contents of one bag can, therefore, be mixed with 143L of water.

Further information

For more information, contact your local merchant or phone Bonanza Calf Nutrition on: 042-9336001.

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