Feed colostrum for the first day, even if your calf is more than 24 hours old. Please refer to the attached tag for specific mixing and feeding directions. Sprinkle the dry milk replacer powder on top of clean, warm water (110° to 120° F, 43° to 49° C) and mix thoroughly until completely dissolved. Allow the milk replacer solution to cool to about 100° F (38° C) before feeding.
IMPORTANT! Every calf has individual needs. Adjust the amounts fed according to the calf’s body weight and appetite, and the environmental conditions (you may need to feed more during cold weather or other stress to maintain body weight). Consult with your veterinarian if you have questions.
STORAGE AND SHELF LIFE OF MILK REPLACER
Store dry milk replacer powder in a tightly closed container in a cool, dry place. Use within 6-12 months of manufacture whenever possible. Dry powder may be sealed in a waterproof, airtight container and stored in the freezer to extend shelf life.
CALF MANAGEMENT TIPS
COLOSTRUM IS CRITICAL FOR CALVES – FEED IT FOR THE FIRST DAY.
Colostrum from the mother provides essential antibodies and other nutrients that the newborn calf needs to survive and grow into a healthy, productive adult. Feed 2 to 4 quarts of fresh, clean, first-milking colostrum from the mother as soon as possible after birth (within 2 hours if possible), and then again 8 to 12 hours later. Even if your calf is more than 24 hours old, it will still benefit from receiving colostrum for the first day on your farm.
Clean, high-quality, first milking colostrum from the mother is usually the best choice. Colostrum that is contaminated with blood, manure, or chunky material, or that from a cow positive for a transmissible disease such as Johne’s or Bovine Leucosis, should be discarded. Measure colostrum quality with a colostrometer whenever possible. Reserve second milking or lower quality colostrum for feeding on days two or three. Stored colostrum is also a good option, but it does have a shelf life – frozen colostrum should be discarded after 6 months, and refrigerated colostrum should be discarded after 1 week. Only high-quality colostrum that was chilled promptly after collection should be stored and used later – bacteria grow rapidly in colostrum left standing at room temperature.
If available colostrum is of poor quality or in short supply, supplement or replace it with Sav-A-Caf® Colostrum Supplement, or the supplement of your choice according to label directions. Do not feed milk replacer until day two.
FREE CHOICE WATER IS ESSENTIAL FOR ALL CALVES.
Offer clean, fresh water to the calf free choice at all times to help maintain hydration and maximize dry feed intake. Research shows that calf starter intake is very limited when no fresh water is available.
SCOURING CALVES NEED ELECTROLYTES AND MILK REPLACER.
Scours (diarrhea) is the primary cause of death in calves less than 4 weeks of age, and most actually die from dehydration. If your calf develops scours, immediately begin feeding an electrolyte solution one to three times daily (depending on the severity of the scours) between milk replacer feedings to help restore fluids and electrolytes lost in diarrhea. Use Sav-A-Caf® Electrolytes Plus or the electrolyte supplement of your choice according to label directions. Continue normal twice daily milk replacer feedings – electrolytes do not contain adequate nutrients to support normal body maintenance and a good immune response in a calf. Research shows that calves fed milk replacer in addition to electrolytes during a scours episode recover more quickly and lose less weight than calves that receive electrolytes alone.
Consider replacing normal milk replacer with Sav-A-Caf® Scours & Pneumonia Treatment Calf Milk Replacer for 7 to 14 days to treat bacterial scours. If your calf does not show improvement in two to three days, or if he becomes weak or visibly dehydrated, call your veterinarian immediately.
IMPLEMENT A COLD WEATHER FEEDING PLAN WHEN THE TEMPERATURE FALLS BELOW 40° F.
For a calf in unheated housing, mix Sav-A-Caf® K-Cal for Calves™ Energy Supplement into the milk replacer according to label directions, or consider adding a third bottle of milk replacer on cold days, particularly when the temperature drops below freezing. Extreme cold temperatures may require both to provide adequate energy intake to keep the calf healthy and growing. Keeping your calf dry and clean also helps to keep him warm – a wet or soiled hair coat can chill a calf quickly. Provide a dry, draft-free shelter that is deeply bedded, and add fresh bedding regularly to keep the calf dry.
JUMP START RUMEN DEVELOPMENT BY PROVIDING CALF STARTER FEED EARLY.
Healthy rumen development is critical to optimize the health and growth of your calf. Begin feeding calf starter feed in the first week of life. Offer a small amount of high quality calf starter feed daily, gradually increasing the amount offered as the calf eats more. Providing fresh feed each day in a clean pail will help to maximize feed intake. Do not offer hay or other forage until after the calf is weaned from milk replacer. Research shows that nursing calves that consume large amounts of forage have slower rumen development. Don’t forget the fresh water – dry feed intake will be limited unless the calf has access to clean, fresh water.
SUCCESSFUL WEANING FROM MILK REPLACER.
A calf that is healthy and growing well can be weaned from milk replacer once it is consuming at least two pounds of dry feed each day for several days in a row. Transition gradually by feeding only one bottle of milk replacer daily to the calf for the week before weaning. Avoid weaning during scours or other stressful situations, such as transportation, dehorning, or castration. Begin offering fine-stem hay or other high quality forage after the calf is weaned. Keep the newly weaned calf in its individual pen for at least a week to allow it to adjust to the new feeding program before transferring to group housing.