This stage will be the fundament for future health and performance.
After 3 days, dairy calves have to be fed sufficient amounts of calf milk replacer in order to achieve optimum growth and to develop a healthy digestive tract and an active immune system. This phase is very important to achieve the optimum metabolic development of calves. Solid feed has to be introduced gradually to ensure optimum energy intake while stimulating rumen development and fermentation. Aim for an average daily gain of at least 800 grams. To achieve this, milk feeding schedules should be as follows:
From day 3-49, the window of opportunity for metabolic programming is wide open. Farmers have to make sure calves develop well, because this early stage of life is essential for the development of all organs and will be the fundament for future health and performance.
Milk feeding level is a key factor in udder development
Already in 2005, research by Brown at al  showed that as a result of metabolic programming, the volume of milk replacer given to Holstein dairy calves in the first 8 weeks has a huge effect on udder development. More recent work confirmed this correlation between feed intake in the first phase of life and udder development. Doubling the milk feed intake resulted in improved total mammary weight, and also other organs like the liver grew faster.
|Birth weight (kg)||39.2||39.7|
|Daily CMR intake (ltr)||4||8|
|Average Daily Gain (gram)||390||820|
|Liver weight (d54, gram)||1,350||2,350|
|Parenchyma weight (d54, gram)||1.10||6.48|
|Parenchyma (% of bodyweight)||0.002%||0.008%|
Grasp your share of genetic potential
Calf feeding schedules with elevated levels of calf milk replacer offer a major opportunity to realise markedly stronger udder development and thus to make optimal use of the genetic potential of dairy calves. Many studies support our Sprayfo vision: LifeStart sets Life Performance. The LifeStart programme therefore includes feeding higher volumes of milk at a balanced concentration, with a clear focus on the first 6-7 weeks.
Do you want to know which calf feeding schedule fits your farm best? Contact our specialists for a tailored advice or download here our general calf feeding recommendations.
Review your farm performance
Working on, or managing a dairy farm is a challenging task; day-to-day routines demand most of your time. Are your operating procedures well set? Do you get the most out of your work? Tough questions if you don't have any reference at hand.
That is why we are now offering you a simple tool which gives you feedback based on results from fellow farmers around the world. It can help you find opportunities for even better results.
Science-based solutions for optimum dairy performance
Sprayfo Delta has been developed with whole milk as the biological reference, mixing the best of whole milk with the best of calf milk replacers (CMRs). Inspired by saleable milk, Sprayfo Delta is high in fat, ensuring calves gets a high level of energy. Combined with a perfect balance of vitamins and minerals calves will get the best possible start in life.
With its superior quality and a milk powder content of 50% Sprayfo Royal is a front-rank LifeStart endorsed calf milk replacer in the market. Sprayfo Royal contributes to problem-free calf rearing: calves will drink it enthusiastically, show optimal health and grow maximally.
Sprayfo Excellent is a LifeStart endorsed high-quality calf milk replacer for dairy farmers who place the highest demands on their calf rearing. With Sprayfo Excellent you can elevate concentrations to a high level: up to 150 grams per litre of milk.
Sprayfo Vitesse is a LifeStart endorsed calf milk replacer for dairy farmers who place the highest demands on their calf rearing. Sprayfo Vitesse is easily digestible and very suitable to elevate concentrations up to 150 grams per litre of milk.
A LifeStart endorsed calf milk replacer for dairy farmers who opt for a familiar and trusted formula. Your step into the professional league of calf rearing.
Sprayfo Blue provides a well-balanced blend for proper calf rearing. Sprayfo Blue is based on unique spray-dried whey-fat kernels. Following the Sprayfo feeding and mixing advice your calves will develop well in the first few months.
Sprayfo Red is a calf milk replacer for economical and secure calf rearing. Sprayfo Red is very easily dissolved due to the unique spray-drying production process. It can be fed as from day 10 after birth.
Coming soon! Sprayfo e-Vito is the first energised calf starter feed that is being develop by Trouw Nutrition. Two trials in Holstein dairy calves have been carried out to date. In the first trial, carried out by IRTA in Spain, it was established that mixing in 10% energised calf starter pellet into the normal calf starter gives optimal results.
Sprayfo Avanta Calf Starter is based on research and experience resulting in a balanced formulation and when combined with Sprayfo calf milk replacers, Sprayfo Avanta is the basis for the best rumen development for calves in the first months: facilitating trouble free weaning and the best growth up to an age of 4 months.
In case of low quality or quantity colostrum on farm, an alternative to natural colostrum can be provided with Sprayfo Colostrum: a feed material perfectly suitable to be provided as a colostrum replacer or supplement for calves.
Sprayfo HydraFit is a complementary feed for ruminants that provides the needed salts and sugars in the right amounts and in the correct ratio. HydraFit uses a method with a pending patent that allows for fast intake of water and supply of electrolytes and maintain hydration status.
Sprayfo OsmoFit is a dietetic complementary feed for calves, developed to stabilize the water and electrolyte balance to support physiological digestion in case of diarrhoea. This patent pending formula allows for effective recovery and correction of metabolic acidosis.