Calves are always at the heart of every dairy cow and calfrearer. How they grow and their health depends on how the farmer chooses to handle them.
To a dairy farmer, the milk produced by the dairy cow after birth is their income source. But what happens to the calf that is supposed to feed on its mother’s milk? It is where a calf milk replacer comes in. A calf milk replacer is a milk supplement for calves that contains the same ingredients as the cow milk.
Health benefits of calf milk replacer
It is a source of nutrients
Averagely, a 20:20 calf milk replacer formula contains 20% protein level and 20% fat level. These are the primary ingredients in the milk plus other vitamins and mineral content.
Proteins provide the calf with essential amino acids for growth. The fatty acids are turned into carbohydrates during digestion by the calf that makes it energetic. The vitamins and amino acids protect the immune system of the calf.
Just as every living creature needs proteins for bodybuilding, the protein supplement in a calf milk replacer helps its lean tissues to grow healthy and strong. The energy from carbohydrates also provides warmth to the calf, especially during cold weather seasons.
So, feeding your calf with milk replacer is essential if you are continuously milking its mother or when the mother is not producing enough milk for the calf.
Protection from diseases
The cow naturally produces colostrum that aids the calf to grow to term, but after birth, the calf’s immune system is highly susceptible to disease. It is why you should provide your calf with a high-quality colostrum supplement in four to twenty-four hours after its birth.
While maternal milk contains high-quality colostrum, calf milk replacer aids in transition and eliminates the risk of diseases.
Prevents antimicrobial resistance
Feeding calves on waste milk or whole milk with time cause antimicrobial resistance because it contains a higher antibiotic residue. Research has shown that cows that feed on waste milk develop mastitis in the later years, a concern for the World Health Organization.
There are also cases where waste milk causes digestive problems to the calves due to contamination with waste matter. Rearing the calves with whole milk has also seen an increase in the risks of contracting the Johne’s disease.
It leaves calf rearers with the option of using calf milk replacers that results in less sickness and improved performance.
Calf replacer milk is economical
Since its inception, calf replacer milk has been seen as economical compared to whole milk feeds, especially when dealing with a large herd of calves. Historically, its production was to lower the cost of feeding calves.
It is less stressful and convenient
Calf milk replacer is a dry product that is easily storable. You only have to mix up the ingredient with warm water to feed the cow.
Therefore, it is convenient for use compared to whole milk that is easily perishable or waste milk that requires milking labor.
Rearing your calf into a strong and healthy cow has been made easy and enjoyable with calf milk replacer. It is a simple feed to make, highly nutritious, and is the perfect feed to wean your calves with to maturity.