Technical points of calf feeding and management
A calf refers to a calf born to 6 months of age. The growth and development of the calf is strong and the plasticity is strong. The calf is extremely important to the development of the cattle industry. Therefore, scientific feeding and management of the calf must be carried out.
Understand the digestive characteristics of calves
1. The rumen gradually develops. The rumen volume of newborn calves is small, accounting for only 30% of the total volume. After 3 weeks of age, the rumen gradually develops. After 6 weeks of age, the volume of the first three stomachs accounts for 70% of the total volume of the stomach, while the volume of the abomasum decreases to 30%. By the age of 12 months, it is close to the level of adult cow's stomach volume ratio.
2. The digestive function is gradually improved. Calves lack the secretory reflex at birth, until after sucking colostrum into the abomasum, the digestive juices are stimulated after the stomach wall is stimulated, and then they begin to have digestive functions. However, this fashion does not have the ability to digest plant feed, and only a few weeks after birth Digestive function, and gradually improve.
Feeding of calves
1. Feed colostrum. The special role of colostrum. The milk secreted by a cow within 7 days after calving is called colostrum. Colostrum is rich in nutrients and can be easily digested and absorbed by calves. It can meet the needs of calves with high metabolic strength, weak digestion, fast growth and development, and more nutrients. It is an irreplaceable natural food for calves.
2. Breastfeeding methods. It is advisable to feed colostrum as soon as possible, because the composition of colostrum changes day by day, and the content of certain components drops sharply within 2 to 3 days. The calf can be fed when it can stand, that is, 30 to 60 minutes after birth.
3. The amount of colostrum fed. According to the calf's weight and health status, the first feeding amount can be 1~2kg, and then 8%~10% of the calf's body weight will be fed every day. Colostrum is fed for 1 week, 4 times a day , It is advisable to have a small amount several times, and the colostrum should be fed immediately at a temperature of 35℃~38℃.
4. Feed regular milk. After one week of colostrum feeding, calves are transferred to regular breastfeeding. More than 95% of the nutrients in regular milk can be digested and absorbed in the abomasum. Regular milk can meet the growth of calves’ protein requirements, but regular milk Medium energy, iron and vitamin C cannot meet the needs of its growth and development, so it is necessary to transition from regular milk to plant-based feed. At present, most domestic dairy calves have a lactation period of 2 to 3 months, with a milk feeding amount of 300~ 400kg, specific support: within 1 month of age, regular milk is the main source, daily feeding is about 8% to 12% of calf body weight, 2 to 3 months of age is a transitional stage, the amount of milk is gradually reduced, and the forage is fed Gradually increase the amount, that is, gradually change from feeding milk to feeding plant feed.
Calves will be trained to eat hay 1 week after birth. After 10 days, they will be trained to eat dry meal. Generally, wheat bran, barley, bean cake, and corn are mixed and crushed, and a small amount of fish meal and salt are added. After starting to feed 15~20g per head per day Gradually increase, at the age of 2 months, each head can eat 500g per day. This period starts to train to eat juicy feed and silage. By the age of 4 months, the calf's digestive function is quickly improved.
5. Drinking water. Although there is a lot of water in cow milk, it cannot meet the calf’s normal metabolic needs in terms of the number of sucklings per day. Therefore, supplement the water supply and start training and feeding the calf one week after birth. The water temperature is 37~38℃, after 10 ~15 days change to cool water.
6. Weaning. The lactation period of a calf is generally two months, with three feedings a day. A well-grown calf can be fed twice a day at 40 days, feeding 4 kg-4.5 kg, and at 50 days, fed once a day, feeding 3 kg-3.5 kg. It is normal for calves to lose weight during the first few days of weaning at any stage. The calf should be kept in a separate cage 10 days after weaning until the calf has no milk requirement.
Management of calves
1. Breastfeeding hygiene. Feeding calves is best to use a breastfeeding pot. Feeding in a bucket can easily overflow into the front stomach and cause abnormal fermentation. After breastfeeding, the calves’ mouths must be wiped clean to avoid sucking the nipple or umbilical cord and causing inflammation , Breastfeeding utensils should be cleaned and disinfected regularly after use.
2. The calf pen is hygienic. Newborn calves are bred separately within 10-15 days after birth for individual care and prevention of infection. It can be reared alone after 15 days, and the calf pen should be cleaned frequently, disinfected regularly, and kept clean and dry.
3. Exercise. Exercise can enhance physical fitness and is beneficial to health. The weather is fine, 7 to 10 days after birth, you should exercise freely outdoors for 0.5 hours a day, and gradually extend with age, avoid sun exposure at noon.
4. Brush and wipe. Brushing can keep the cow's body clean, promote blood circulation, and can also teach the calf. Therefore, stick to brushing 1 to 2 times a day. Use a soft brush for brushing. The technique should be light to make the cow feel comfortable.
5. Health care. In daily management, attention should be paid to observe whether the cow's mental state, appetite, feces, body temperature and behavior are abnormal. If the calf has mild diarrhea, reduce the amount of milk feeding and add 1 to 2 times warm water to the milk. When diarrhea is severe, breastfeeding should be suspended for 1 to 2 times. You can feed warm water and add 0.01% potassium permanganate solution or 0.1% to 0.2% sodium bicarbonate solution.
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