Calf Feeding Observation

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by Haggis, May 13, 2005.

  1. Haggis

    Haggis MacCurmudgeon

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    I understand that as a rule of thumb, a calf wants just 10% of its body weight in milk each day to stay healthy, but therein lays an oddity.

    *As Holsteins and Jerseys are at end of a spectrum in butter fat, so not all cows give the same richness in milk.

    *The first milk let down by any cow is not so rich as the last bit she gives in the final stripping.

    So, if one were to feed a hand milked half gallon of milk from the last bit on a Jersey to one calf, and the first bit hand milked from a Holstein to yet another calf isn't there valid difference in how much actual food each calf is receiving?
     
  2. myersfarm

    myersfarm Dariy Calf Raiser

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    i raised 38 calfs on 4 jersey cows last year 4 on each cow at a time...an realised that didn't work to let them suck there own...some were slow suckers and others were just hogs...so now i milk the cows in a 55 gallon barrel stir it all up then feed the calfs.......i now have 16 jerseys so looking for alot long hard days ahead......the cream is the last to come out...you can look on a good day and see the difference in the color from first milking to last squart.....john
     

  3. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

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    To answer your question Haggis, yes there is a huge difference and on two fronts. The Jersey milk is much richer wheras the Holstein is middle of the road so wherever in the milking you took the milk from, the first calf would always be getting the better feed value. Added to which, if it was a Holstein calf you were feeding the Jersey milk to, there is a high chance it would get the scours.

    For that reason and the ones that John has mentioned, I do exactly the same as he does. Milk all my cows, mix the milk and then feed the calves. All the calves are then getting the same consistent quality and quantity.

    Cheers,
    Ronnie
     
  4. Haggis

    Haggis MacCurmudgeon

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    Thanks for the great replies.

    The reason I mention it is, I am feeding my 2 calves on the bottle and filling their bottles directly from my Jersey, Dorsey. As luck would have it, Dorsey gives about a gallon or a little less from her 1 functioning hind teat. After I finish machine milking Lucy and then Dorsey's front two teats, I handmilk the last teat to fill the bottles.

    When one is sitting there doing nothing it's easy to start thinking, and I got to thinking. I fill a half gallon bottle for the Jersey/Milking Devon calf first and then Herself feeds him while I pull out a quart for the premature pure bred Milking Devon (He's a month old and just under 40 pounds). Well, it came me as I sat there that the larger calf was getting more milk but milk of a lessor food value, and the smaller calf was getting the "cream" as it were.

    The larger calf is taking about a pound of 16% calf starter each day, he eats his hay, and he chews his cud. The smaller calf will not touch the calf starter, and he can only chew his hay; before Herself feeds him I have to reach into his mouth and pull out whatever cud he has accumulated or he strangles on his milk. It seems that he can't chew well enough to swallow it, or that he is taking to much into his mouth to swallow it.

    I see what you gentlefolk are saying about keeping the milk blended; it keeps a level playing field for the calves, and may in the end help them to avoid scours.

    Thanks a heap.

    By the by, I was talking to a local fellow just yesterday, and he was telling me that his brother keeps Jerseys in the southern part of Minnesota. Anyway, he has all these Jersey bull calves he needs to sell; and it's a buyers market. Maybe, if they can be had for little and raised on my surplus milk, they would make good beef gifts to my children this fall?
     
  5. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You could also flip flop on who is fed first with just the two. But if you get more calfs then I would definately mix.
    I think the calves for your children would be a great idea provided they have enough freezer space. By far much healthier meat for your family. Here in Maine Jersey bull calves are often under $10 at auction.

    You could always get a few goats to milk...and not worry about mixing ;)
     
  6. myersfarm

    myersfarm Dariy Calf Raiser

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    haggis have i got a deal for you just found out about a calf feeder...it called a milk bar they come in 3 teats 5 teats 6 teats 10 teats 12 teats and 100 teats......has a special nipple so the calfs finish at the same time you can mix the milk in it and let the calfs have it....a lady on another forum i go to has used them for years runs her calfs together in groups of 10...the lady is from NZ she raises about 50 year. you can find pictures at www.milkbar.co.nz ...then go to products to see pictures and there is one in tx i talked to her the other day very nice lady the number is 1 800 272 3361 tell her john sent you we talker for a hour.....john
     
  7. Haggis

    Haggis MacCurmudgeon

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    Now that is one interesting contraption.
     
  8. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

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    John, I've just finished posting about these on another thread. We call them "calfaterias" and they come in a whole range of sizes and makes. The big ones are usually used by big dairy farms rearing their replacement heifers. I have a single teat, tripple teat and 10 teat. I've been using them for as long as I've been in farming (about 30 years) and I'm surprised that you don't seem to be able to get them there. They are an ideal way of rearing calves, no matter how many. I am also a NZ'er.

    Cheers,
    Ronnie
     
  9. myersfarm

    myersfarm Dariy Calf Raiser

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    thanks for the back up....have you had any problems with yours the lady i talked to said you need to replace the teats each time you trade out the calfs do you do that? how many do you rasie in a year..the lady said it stops the hogs from getting it all and the slow ones get more have you seen this work that way......thanks john
     
  10. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

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    Sorry John, I have just noticed your post and realised it was probably directed at me.

    No, I don't have any problems with them at all. The calves click on to them fairly smartly and if using more than a single, seem to like having the contact with another calf while feeding - probably a bit like leaning into Mum. I don't change my teats for every new batch of calves; in fact the older they are the better as they become softer and the calves are more accepting of them. They do eventually have to be replaced of course as they wear out and get holes in them. The brand I use is compartmental which means that each calf gets it's allocated amount of milk. I still have to watch out for the hogs that finish their own milk first and get wise to the idea that they can push the slower drinkers off their teats but that tends to be the exception rather than the rule.

    I don't rear great numbers of calves although I have done so in the past and all on calfateria. At present I've got four being reared on that system, the youngest being 10 days old. She and the others all come into the feeder pen when they hear me coming and stand where they get fed and wait. They've worked out between them which teat they want to drink from and that never varies. It's a great way to rear calves, you can still keep an eye on them but it leaves your hands free to do other things and you know that each calf is getting what it should.

    Cheers,
    Ronnie
     
  11. Haggis

    Haggis MacCurmudgeon

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    With and calfateria system, how does one control the amount of milk each calf receives; given that each calf is supposed to have just 10% of it's body weight?
     
  12. evermoor

    evermoor Well-Known Member

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    There are two types that I know of. The first is made up of seperate compartments that you fill with however much you want. The other is an open barrel type where the calf gets its fill regardless of the 10% rule. Someone used either a soured or cold milk to limit intake, but I really don't know. Sometimes I used the big trough ( 10 gallon container cut lenghtwise) and pour out a few gallons of milk for older bull calves. For them it is a all out contest to get their fill, but all seem OK.