The Milkbar is open

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10 years 4 months ago #475657 by Ruth
Replied by Ruth on topic The Milkbar is open
My calves don't need to be left hungry to eat grass, they just do it. It's what cattle do.

Developmentally: underfeeding will naturally have an effect, you just don't get to know what it is because you don't know what potential the animal didn't achieve. Underfed creatures are never as long-term robustly healthy as those which are properly and adequately nourished. Just because it's regularly done (underfeeding) doesn't make it the best possible option.

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10 years 4 months ago #475658 by Short Plank
Replied by Short Plank on topic The Milkbar is open

Ruth;478785 wrote: Just because it's regularly done (underfeeding) doesn't make it the best possible option.

Oh, I agree. But if 'overfeeding' just makes the calf lazy when it comes to developing the rumen and moving onto grass it obviously isn't a good thing either.

I want to do the right thing by Junior - and indeed by Chloe for whom I am now proxy. I have been doing some Googling on the matter but almost everything I come across is either for the farmer wanting to maximise output for minimum expense and labour, or a commercial outfit pushing its product. On the other hand I came across:

www.ngahiwifarms.co.nz/cms/calf-rearing/...ay-calf-feeding.html

This contains the following statement:

"...once a day milk feeding is perhaps the greatest asset available to assist early rumen development. By condensing the dry matter content of the milk, all the nutrients required daily by a calf can be fed in one, low volume feed. Many dairy farmers have tried once a day feeding of young calves, with whole milk and failed. This failure is due to the fact that an average calf requires 5 litres of whole milk per day and it is very difficult to have a 2 or 3 week old calf drinking a full 5 litres, once a day, without digestive upsets. Another problem with once a day whole milk feeding is that the milk is rapidly digested, leaving the calf for a long period each day without an available energy supply to combat cold weather.

Start the average good sized calf on 200 grams of replacer in 2 litres of water and build up the concentration over the next few days to where you are feeding 500 grams of milk replacer, still in 2 litres but once a day. Dairy farmers can do the same thing by using 2 litres of cow’s milk and slowly increasing the strength with replacer until they are feeding 300 grams mixed with 2 litres of cow’s milk or colostrum. The single, low volume feed is slowly digested over a long period but leaves the calf “feeling” hungry and so encourages the early consumption of pellets and roughage."

Nothing in that seems counter-intuitive to me. In addition to the above Junior can have free access to grass, a slice of $11/bale lucern hay on demand and retire to the shelter of the barn whenever he wants. But on the other hand it runs counter to much of the advice both at this site and elsewhere. So what's a tyro to do?

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10 years 4 months ago #475662 by max2
Replied by max2 on topic The Milkbar is open

Ruth;478785 wrote: My calves don't need to be left hungry to eat grass, they just do it. It's what cattle do.

Developmentally: underfeeding will naturally have an effect, you just don't get to know what it is because you don't know what potential the animal didn't achieve. Underfed creatures are never as long-term robustly healthy as those which are properly and adequately nourished. Just because it's regularly done (underfeeding) doesn't make it the best possible option.


I agree.

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10 years 4 months ago #475663 by max2
Replied by max2 on topic The Milkbar is open

Short Plank;478786 wrote: Oh, I agree. But if 'overfeeding' just makes the calf lazy when it comes to developing the rumen and moving onto grass it obviously isn't a good thing either.

I want to do the right thing by Junior - and indeed by Chloe for whom I am now proxy. I have been doing some Googling on the matter but almost everything I come across is either for the farmer wanting to maximise output for minimum expense and labour, or a commercial outfit pushing its product. On the other hand I came across:

www.ngahiwifarms.co.nz/cms/calf-rearing/...ay-calf-feeding.html

This contains the following statement:

"...once a day milk feeding is perhaps the greatest asset available to assist early rumen development. By condensing the dry matter content of the milk, all the nutrients required daily by a calf can be fed in one, low volume feed. Many dairy farmers have tried once a day feeding of young calves, with whole milk and failed. This failure is due to the fact that an average calf requires 5 litres of whole milk per day and it is very difficult to have a 2 or 3 week old calf drinking a full 5 litres, once a day, without digestive upsets. Another problem with once a day whole milk feeding is that the milk is rapidly digested, leaving the calf for a long period each day without an available energy supply to combat cold weather.

Start the average good sized calf on 200 grams of replacer in 2 litres of water and build up the concentration over the next few days to where you are feeding 500 grams of milk replacer, still in 2 litres but once a day. Dairy farmers can do the same thing by using 2 litres of cow’s milk and slowly increasing the strength with replacer until they are feeding 300 grams mixed with 2 litres of cow’s milk or colostrum. The single, low volume feed is slowly digested over a long period but leaves the calf “feeling” hungry and so encourages the early consumption of pellets and roughage."

Nothing in that seems counter-intuitive to me. In addition to the above Junior can have free access to grass, a slice of $11/bale lucern hay on demand and retire to the shelter of the barn whenever he wants. But on the other hand it runs counter to much of the advice both at this site and elsewhere. So what's a tyro to do?


Well for those of us buying the bags at nearly $100 per bag, it justifies to us not to give them so much for so long.... [:0] but as someone who also milks for her calves, if you have it, give it.

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10 years 4 months ago #475677 by Ruth
Replied by Ruth on topic The Milkbar is open
I can't see why you'd want to justify underfeeding. Once-a-day feeding to get calves ruminating fast is primarily about doing them as cheaply as possible. It's about efficiency of production, not about the best animal outcomes. Your animal, your choice.

You sound like someone who'd rather do it as close to best possible and that would be to provide a good amount of milk for as long as you can. I assure you again, my lazy, fat, overfed little calves are all grazing out there with their mothers every day. Every one of them will be a well-grown and efficient ruminant by about four months, with the added bonus of a couple more months of protein-rich feed before weaning. Those who don't get enough milk aren't able to ruminate any better than the others, they just look worse, grow slower and don't do as well in the long term. A happy, unstressed animal will always do better than one which is struggling to any extent.

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10 years 4 months ago #475689 by max2
Replied by max2 on topic The Milkbar is open

Ruth;478807 wrote: I can't see why you'd want to justify underfeeding. Once-a-day feeding to get calves ruminating fast is primarily about doing them as cheaply as possible. It's about efficiency of production, not about the best animal outcomes. Your animal, your choice.

.


A tongue in cheek cynical remark from me Ruth.... [;)] not aimed at anyone on this thread but an over the fence observation of how their calves are treated and at the notion that starving a calf will encourage it onto grass quickly.

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10 years 4 months ago #475693 by Ruth
Replied by Ruth on topic The Milkbar is open
And I wasn't directing that to you either! :)

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10 years 4 months ago #475700 by Short Plank
Replied by Short Plank on topic The Milkbar is open
I didn't think anyone was advocating starving the calf onto grass - tho' that trick might appeal to those who only farm their spreadsheets.

What I'm trying to establish is the right amount of milk to give to the calf - sufficient to meet its nutritional requirements and keep it content, but not so much as to interfer with its normal development.

Presumably a calf with unrestricted access to its mother will suck what it needs when it needs and move over to grass as and when 'nature' intends. However given that I cannot be there all the time for Junior - and he knows it - his response is to take all he can when it's available which diverges from the 'natural' spproach. Clearly this is going to have an impact on the way his digestion develops.

The Mrs. is on her way back from town now with a recovered puppy and a bag of calf milk replacer 'just in case'. We live frugally because we choose to but that doesn't mean we're poor and what our animals need they get. I'd be quite happy to adopt the ngahiwifarms.co approach and 'fortify' 2 litres of raw milk with 300g powder, but feed that twice a day rather than once. But I'm also aware that animals need at times to be restricted from their natural inclinations to 'overeat' when they can - it's possible we lost Chloe in part at least because she was overweight, as she didn't turn down the long, lush grass in the orchard when we offered it to her.

Best for Junior would be for him to be with his mother, but circumstances have ruled that out. Instead I must do the best for him - and I have to say that I'm still not sure what that is.

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10 years 4 months ago #475706 by Ruth
Replied by Ruth on topic The Milkbar is open
If your calf was on his mother, he'd be getting about seven litres a day at the minimum and he'd eat grass in between feeds. I tried to convey that my potentially over-fed calves (if their mothers are abundant milkers) still eat grass at the same rate as their mates who are presumably getting a little less milk. It's probably a quite different sort of eating and sense of satiation, because the digestive processes are quite different. If you feed as much as your calf needs, it will be the best it can be; you won't hinder its development as a ruminant, you will support it. If you feed a little more than he needs, he'll simply be a little softer and rounder and healthier than if you slightly underfeed him. If you're feeding whole cow milk, I'd not bother putting powder with it to fortify it for fear of buggering the whole thing up.

That's what I would do. That's what I did last year and weaned a splendid calf at the end, without his appearing to have suffered from the early loss of his mother. His new owner sent through some weights last week and I forgot to specifically look at his. I'll do that when I get home.

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10 years 4 months ago #475711 by Short Plank
Replied by Short Plank on topic The Milkbar is open

Ruth;478839 wrote: If you're feeding whole cow milk, I'd not bother putting powder with it to fortify it for fear of buggering the whole thing up.

Yes, but I'm not feeding the same volume (7 litres) of whole cow milk as you say the mothered calf gets. Also presumably the calf gets that little and often, which I couldn't do even if we squeezed 6 litres/day for the calf out of Rata's donation.

The Ngahiwi Farms approach makes a kind of spreadsheet sense in that you're giving the calf more 'goodness' for the same volume - so it lasts longer in the calf's stomach making it feel better about life. Put another way, 2 x 2 litres of raw milk with, say, 200g of powder added each time surely gets closer to what it would get from 7 litres of ad-lib feeding from Mum that just 2 x 2 litres of milk alone. Yet as you say, the fear of 'buggering the whole thing up' is a powerful disincentive to experimenting with it.

Too, Junior's mum was a Jersey so the milk he would have got from her would have been much richer and creamier than the milk we're getting from Friesian Rata.

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10 years 4 months ago #475712 by kindajojo
Replied by kindajojo on topic The Milkbar is open
I would mix up the daily feed, mixing both powder and cows milk so he is getting the same formular each feed and feed the 6-7 litres over three feed, little and often and not too much variation in strength or consistancy

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10 years 4 months ago #475714 by terralee
Replied by terralee on topic The Milkbar is open

Short Plank;478844 wrote: Yes, but I'm not feeding the same volume (7 litres) of whole cow milk as you say the mothered calf gets. Also presumably the calf gets that little and often, which I couldn't do even if we squeezed 6 litres/day for the calf out of Rata's donation.

The Ngahiwi Farms approach makes a kind of spreadsheet sense in that you're giving the calf more 'goodness' for the same volume - so it lasts longer in the calf's stomach making it feel better about life. Put another way, 2 x 2 litres of raw milk with, say, 200g of powder added each time surely gets closer to what it would get from 7 litres of ad-lib feeding from Mum that just 2 x 2 litres of milk alone. Yet as you say, the fear of 'buggering the whole thing up' is a powerful disincentive to experimenting with it.

Too, Junior's mum was a Jersey so the milk he would have got from her would have been much richer and creamier than the milk we're getting from Friesian Rata.

You are caught between a rock and a hard place Short Plank ...I am sure your calf will be fine :) ...
I would suggest fortifying the cows milk gradually so calf has time to adjust ...and ...we raised friesian bull calves many years ago and we used the Poukawa system:eek: .... it is the once a day BUT double strength milk replacer system ....our calves did fantastic on that method ...which is sort of what you intend doing ....we started to switch to double strength after the first week ...and so similar to your situation ... the lesser amount of volume did tend to get them eating a bit quicker and rumen development is faster.
All the best :)
Cheers

Leonie & Zoo!!! :silly: :woohoo:

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10 years 4 months ago #475722 by RaeM1
Replied by RaeM1 on topic The Milkbar is open
WE have always mixed powder milk with cows milk, we used to milk 3 cows in the mornings, and then put their own calves back on them for the day, then lock the calves up at night. The milk we got from the 3 cows would then be mixed with powder milk to feed 18 other calves, and they did extra well on the mixture. The main reason for doing this is the fact that our ayshire, would hang any stray calves on the fence with her horns in preference to letting anything other than her own calf drink, she could fill a test bucket up each milking, so had a ton of milk.

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