Carefully manage stress and supply sufficient water ad libitum


Carefully manage stress and supply sufficient water ad libitum

Fresser rearing is a system to prepare beef-type calves for the fattening stage

Fresser calves are from the Fleckvieh breed and stay at the dairy farm for 5-6 weeks. Here they can suckle milk from their mother or get a good amount of milk replacer; in this phase they hardly consume any calf starter or forage. At an age of 5-6 weeks they are collected from the small farms and come together at a calf-market. There they are weighed (75-85 kg), selected and go in groups to a farm. The Fresser calves arrive in groups of 30 up to 120 on 1 farm. Because they come from different dairy farms and have been transported, the reception protocol is very important.

Key issues to manage:

  1. Check hygiene and physical treatment at the market and during transport
  2. Ensure water treatment during transport
  3. Prevent stress during unloading and moving to new housing
  4. Provide a clean and dry place
  5. Make water ad libitum available.
  6. Provide milk and electrolytes according to protocol

The feeding schedule for Fresser calves

After arrival it is key to get the calves on milk as soon as possible. The first day 1 feeding of milk, combined with ad libitum water and/or electrolytes. After 3 weeks of milk feeding the calves are at an age of 8-9 weeks and weaning can start.

  Sprayfo milk replacer Corn-silage (35% DM) Chopped straw Calf starter
  L milk per day kg CMR per day kg/day kg/day kg/day
day 1 3 0.38   0.05 0.10
week 1 6 0.75 0.70 0.10 0.50
week 2 6 0.75 0.70 0.10 0.50
week 3 6 0.75 0.80 0.15 0.80
week 4 4 0.50 1.70 0.15 1.00
week 5 2 0.25 2.50 0.15 1.00
week 6     3.20 0.15 1.70
week 7     3.70 0.15 2.10
week 8     4.30 0.15 2.30
week 9     4.90 0.15 2.40
week 10     5.40 0.15 2.50
week 11     6.10 0.15 2.60
week 12     6.70 0.15 2.70
week 13     7.50 0.15 2.70
week 14     8.10 0.15 2.70
week 15     8.90 0.15 2.70
Total feed 165 20.60 450 15 200

Weaning phase

In week 5-6 the Fresser calves weaned. Gradually lowering the milk makes them eat more calf starter, corn-silage and forage. After weaning the calves stay for 8-9 more weeks on the farm to reach a body weight of 180-200 kg. at that stage they have a well-developed rumen system and are ready to go to the fattening farm.

Animal numbers and economics

Most Fresser farms have groups of calves at different ages. The working procedure is all-in-all-out. The system works on a 15 weeks base; around 3.5 rounds a year. This means a Fresser farm with 500 animals on any given time of the year; will buy, feed and sell 1750 Fresser calves a year.

The economics of these farms is very sensitive to market developments. The price of young calves, feed-stuffs and finished calves can vary on a weekly base. Therefore, Sprayfo provides a cost-benefit overview on a by-weekly base.

When you allow yourself a short break, we'll make it worth your while.

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