Calf-rearing after the end of quotas: taking new paths

After the last few months has seen excessive milk being fed to calves calves, the focus is now on marketing this milk milk. Many farm managers are now wondering which concept should be applied to calves going forward. One option in this case is pooling feed.

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Colostrum milk is medicine – The recommendation "As quick as possible and as much as possible" never changes. The applicable formula is: 100 percent supply = four litres in the first two hours of life. The calves are happy to get in the individual stall in the following two to three weeks. Pool feeding is possible in this time.

Collecting milk

To do this, the milker collects the milk for the calves in a bucket and puts it to one side. At the next milking time he also collects it and uses a second bucket to do so. After the first colostrum supply, the subsequent milking of the freshly calved cows and possibly the milk is collected with permanently increased cell content. Milk from acute udder infections and inhibitor milk after antibiotic treatment is not collected.

Only the milk from the last milking is used to feed calves. This has already been in the milking room for a few hours and so is cool. It is recommended that this milk be mixed with a certain amount of hot water and mixed with a good milk substitute (CombiMilk Galant). Additional acidification is also possible (Miravit MilchStabil). As a result the calves are already used to the milk substitute when full milk is no longer used after being kept in the individual stall.

Rules for pool feeding

The pool milk is offered to the youngest calves, as the colostrum it contains still provides good local protection in the intestines against diarrhoea pathogens. The young calces no longer rely on the second or third milking from their own mothers if the first supply is successful. With pool feeding, it is important to always offer the calves the same mixture ratio between full milk and milk substitute. If feeding with full milk continues after pool feeding with, this must be supplemente, for example with CombiMilk Ideal. Pool feeding simplifies the supply to calves in the individual stalls and also offers an advantage: The feeder no longer has to wait for the milker.

If the calves are intensively fed with five litres per meal, a temperature of 25 to 30 degrees Celsius is sufficient for the feed, as they drink more slowly. If the calves are raised extensively instead, it has to be at between 35 and 40 degrees Celsius because the milk is drunk quickly. In intensive rearing, the calves are given ten to twelve litres a day in the first three to four weeks, and are weaned in the following seven weeks. In extensive rearing, the season has to be taken into account. Six litres in summer at temperatures of more than 15 degrees Celsius, seven litres in autumn/spring (15 to 5 degrees Celsius) and eight litres in winter (5 to -5 degrees Celsius) sind erforderlich. Full milk is used here, plus 100 g CombiMilk Ideal per day or CombiMilk Galant with a concentration of 160 g per litre of water. Apart from the milk drinks, the calves are given water and a dry TMR after their second week, never silage.

Further information about this subject is available from Klaus Bürsken, Tel. 0172 . 5306363,, or the free Hotline, Tel. 0800 . 682-1133.