After colostrum feeding is finished, milk feeding begins. Health status throughout this stage will strongly influence performance throughout the lifetime of the animal, therefore effective management is crucial.
A young calf is a non-ruminant, therefore, milk digestion occurs entirely in the abomasum and as a result, consistency is fundamental in minimising the risk of digestive upsets.
Milk should always be fed at a temperature of 37⁰C to 41⁰C with changes onto calf milk replacer done as gradually as possible.
Milk replacer that is:
- Too hot – This will cause vitamins to become inactive, as well as reduced digestibility of fat and protein.
- Too cold – Milk is unlikely to dissolve properly causing poorer digestion and closure of the oesophageal groove may no longer happen; hence the calf is at a greater risk of digestive upsets.