Management and Feeding of Heifer Calves, Part 2

This month, DRECA is continuing the conversation on management and feeding of heifer calves. A big decision that producers make on farm is how they are feeding calves, with either manual milk feeding (buckets or bottles) or automated milk feeders. The way calves are fed and the amount they are fed can impact behaviour, welfare, growth and future milk production. Understanding the differences between farms using manual or automated milk feeding and the effects on calf performance can help producers make a choice between these systems. Additionally, with the recent completion of Dr. Michael Steele’s 5-year NSERC industrial research chair position, new research results are available for calf nutrition and management. Dr. Steele’s research program focused on developing feeding and management practices to promote proper gut development and improve health and productivity of calves.

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The first research summary comes from a recent survey, which interviewed Canadian dairy producers using either manual or automated milk feeding systems. The study compared liquid feeding programs, housing and management between farms to determine the likely effects on calf performance. Additionally, producers were also surveyed to determine perceptions of manual and automated feeding systems and the factors influencing management decisions.

The second research summary is a 3-part series discussing the research outcomes from Dr. Steele’s NSERC industrial research chair in dairy nutrition. Part 1 focuses on the overall outcomes and highlights from the 5-year program and Parts 2 and 3 discuss nutrition and management strategies in the first days, weeks and months of life.

6.12 Calf Feeding Strategies

Results from a recent survey were used to determine the differences in calf management between farms using manual or automated milk systems.

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6.13a NSERC IRC Summary – Michael Steele Part 1

During his IRC position, Dr Steele focused on management and feeding strategies for calves.

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6.13b NSERC IRC Summary – Michael Steele Part 2

Nutritional management in the first days of life are key for calf health and growth.

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6.13c NSERC IRC Summary – Michael Steele Part 3

Both pre-weaning and post-weaning feeding can impact calf performance and future production.

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