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Calf Nutrition & Management - Birth to 2 Days Old...

Rearing replacement dairy heifers is the second greatest cost to a dairy unit. However, if the heifers do not have the correct nutrition or are not managed correctly, the price will be paid later in the production cycle...


Colostrum is the liquid gold a calf needs to start life correctly. If the quantity or quality of colostrum is not sufficient enough, problems can occur later in life.

A calf should be fed 10% bodyweight of colostrum at 37°C within the first 2 hours, ideally by suckling but if needs be, use a stomach tube to top up.

At least 20% of their birth weight should be fed in the first 24 hours. 2 litres, twice a day of colostrum should be continued for a further 2 days.

Colostrum should only be stored from Johnes negative and low risk cows.

Colostrum Quality

Target is to produce colostrum

>50g/L IgG

Factors affecting the quality are:

• Dry cow management

• Dry cow nutrition

• Stress in the dry period

• Milking cows hygienically within 1-2 hours after calving

Calves should be removed straight from the cow at birth where possible, to reduce the exposure to bacteria present in the calving areas.

The other benefit of removing the calf and feeding straight away, ensures maximum absorption of colostrum is possible and a known amount of colostrum has been given to the calf.

If you require further information on Calf Nutrition & Management, then please speak to your local DN Sales Specialist or call Dugdale Nutrition on 01200 420200.

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