Nature intended a calf to take small meals, little and often. Large meals flood the digestive system and can give rise to scours. A suckler calf on a cow will feed up to 7 times/day, for 7 minutes/feed.
In hot weather, a large bucket of cold milk placed outside the pen and connected to a teat bar unit will allow calves continuous access to milk, and calves grow well on the cold ad lib system (acidified milk works best). However, when ambient temperatures drop below 10°C, it will be necessary to use a heating system to maintain adequate intakes.
Heatwave Milk Warmer™ system sits outside the pen, next to the ad lib cold milk reservoir. As the calf drinks, the cold milk is drawn through the Heatwave Milk Warmer™ and heated on demand, offering all the benefits nature intended.
Benefits of Group Feeding
Calves kept in groups can exhibit natural behaviour, grooming, licking and socialising. Farm Assurance and Red Tractor schemes advise this. Research has shown calves grouped before weaning age will take larger quantities of dry feed, as the group tends to feed together and calves learn habits from each other.
Satisfied calves are less prone to sucking each other.
Calves grow faster and drink more milk but the cost per kg liveweight gained is similar to a once a day or twice/day system. The goal is a bigger, better calf at weaning, converting milk into frame when the feed conversion is at its most efficient.
Many milk powder formulas are ‘partially acidified’.* Acidified milk fed ad lib will help the milk to clot and improve digestion. Lowering the pH reduces the number of pathogens and reduces calf scour, improving health and vitality. Small meals promote a healthy digestion. Calves which are not challenged by hunger, consuming a very high energy diet, have a good immune system and are less likely to suffer calf-hood disease such as pneumonia, and have less setbacks.
Where whole milk is offered we recommend the addition of a preservative** to fortify and acidify the whole milk reservoir. This extends the shelf life by 24hrs.
*Check with your supplier. ** Use a lamb milk powder recommended for ad lib feeding.
When ewe lambs give birth to twins it is beneficial to remove one lamb and rear it artificially. This allows the mother to grow and feed a single lamb. The second lamb can be reared on the Heatwave Milk Warmer™ system and this gives both lambs a better start. Triplets are frequently reared on this system. Growth rates often exceed those lambs fed on the ewe!
The Heatwave Milk Warmer™ system allows a large barrel of cold reconstituted milk powder, to be mixed up cold and fed on demand, via the milk warming system. Lambs drink an average of 1 litre/day on ad lib. With 4 teats, the Heatwave Milk Warmer™ will feed up to 50 lambs. Use a lamb milk powder recommended for ad lib feeding.
Goat kids from milking herds will benefit from ad lib feeding. Follow the same guidelines as for lambs. Use a milk powder recommended for ad lib feeding.