Publication - Management and feeding of young dairy animals
Title in English
Management and feeding of young dairy animals
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Summary in English
One of the dairyman`s major expenses is providing replacement animals for his milking herd. Inadequate feeding slows growth and sexual development, and delays the start of first lactation. These delays are costly for dairymen who must feed and care for unproductive animals that otherwise could be providing income. Heifers that are ready to start their first lactation at about 2 years of age. Calf management and feeding programs vary widely among farms and have seen many changes in the past few years.The older systems usually included a long period during which young animals were fed whole milk and skim milk. Newer, limited-whole milk or milk-replacer feeding schemes, however, involve weaning the calf at 5-6 weeks old, then raising it on dry feeds, usually calf starter and hay. The feeding of fermented colostrum has received considerable attention in recent years. One of the newest schemes involves feeding the calf fermented colostrum for 3 weeks old. Feeding once a day and using cold milk are two other calf-feeding practices, but these are not widely used in Canada. This publication describes feeding and management practices that promote good growth and development rates. These recommendations apply to the raising of replacement heifers from the time the fetus is developing until the animal starts its first lactation. A brief section is also included that deals with veal production as an alternate method of marketing surplus dairy calves.