Start offering calf starter 3 days before the calf is born. Provide a handful of calf starter in a shallow bucket and slowly increase the amount of starter as the calves grow. In order to make sure optimal calf growth and nutrition, feed fresh calf starter and water daily.
Calves age 1 day to 12 weeks have different needs and calf starter needs are no exception.
It is your job to make sure you do not want to overfeed calf starter to younger calves but at the same time, you do not want older calves run out.
Here are some guidelines on when to begin feeding starter to calves:
First 2 weeks of life:
Calves normally consume little calf starter during this period and are more dependent on liquid nutrition.
During this time, replace calf starter every day and discard old feed.
Stale calf starter may look fine on the outside but it may not be palatable.
3 - 4 weeks old
At this time, you will notice an increase in calf starter intake.
Monitor feed intake closely.
If you do not notice the intake increase and adjust feeding properly, calf growth may be affected due to insufficient nutrient.
If calves are finishing the feed regularly, the daily allotment should be increased.
4 - 8 weeks old
By the time calves reach weaning age, they should be consuming higher amounts of calf starter.
Calf starter intake may even double.
Be aware of potential increase in consumption and be ready to meet the calves' requirement.
8 - 12 weeks old
As calves continue to grow, their consumption will increase as well.
Do not limit intake at this period.
Make sure there are sufficient calf starter at all times.
After 12 weeks old
Once the calf reach 12 weeks old, start to introduce calf grower feed.
Grower feeds will help calves transition more easily to high fibre diet.