Dairy calf management
From feeding colostrum and weaning to monitoring growth rates and disease control, our information and resources can help you to manage your dairy calves at this crucial stage.
Rearing dairy heifer calves is the second-largest annual expense for dairy farms, accounting for about 20% of production costs. Yet heifers produce no income until they reach first lactation and, often, no profit until their second lactation. However, with the best management, they will repay the investment in rearing costs with higher milk production and a longer productive life.
Learn how much colostrum to feed and when, as well as how to collect, test and feed colostrum to make sure the calf gets crucial antibodies.
Feeding dairy calves
Find out why feeding 10% of calf body weight is no longer a sufficient guide to milk volumes and learn how to work out the nutrients supplied by different milk-replacer brands, plus, what a calf’s water needs are and how to successfully wean.
Dairy calf growth rates
Learn more about a calf’s energy needs for growing and keeping warm, as well as how to measure growth rates and why it’s important to monitor regularly.
Managing calves according to weather
The ideal temperature range for calves changes at about three weeks of age and has a big effect on growth rates. This impacts how much milk to feed. Discover more about using calf jackets for cold weather and what to do in times of heat stress.
Calf disease management
A healthy calf has the best chance of achieving its full potential as an efficient and productive dairy cow in the herd. Being able to spot common problems early is the best way to reduce the spread of disease and reduce its severity.
Disbudding dairy calves
Disbudding calves is ideally done at 2–6 weeks of age using local anaesthesia to eliminate pain during the procedure and anti-inflammatories to reduce pain after. Making disbudding as painless as possible for all involved requires good training and an efficient protocol.
Calf management tools
Heifer rearing cost calculator
A calculator which allows you to input costings under three distinct rearing periods; birth to weaning, weaning to conception and conception to calving down.
If you would like to order a hard copy of the following resources, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0247 799 0069:
- Calf management guide
- Calf weigh bands
- Better returns from calf rearing
- Calf rearing notebook