Most people don’t believe the amount of milk we feed our “bottle/bucket” fed calves…
No, our babies are not nursing on their mothers, but yes, they are fed their mother’s milk – fresh and warm – and yes, they grow much better on a full-milk diet compared to the industry standard of one gallon per day split between two feedings and fed a huge amount of grain (this mindset is beginning to change to a “feed more milk” concept as folks are realizing the value of milk in raising healthy animals that become more profitable cows).
We’ve fed calves a lot of different methods –
- from milk replacer & grain (what a disaster)
- to diluted fresh milk & grain (decent growth)
- to milk & hay/pasture (amazing)
– We’re believers in milk, the natural feed for calves!
“Full potential feeding is 2.5 pounds of milk solids per day or the equivalent of 2.5 gallons of whole milk…”
We take it one step further and believe in raising heifers grain-free. With a combination of a milk-based calf diet (similar to what a beef calf would get for 6+ months) and summer pasture, our calf raising method is both economical & healthy.
“Pastured heifers will give 2,000-plus pounds more milk and have more days in milk. This doesn’t just compete with confinement systems; it actually does better.”
I’ve snapped a short video of Rosita & Risotto – Rosita is a replacement heifer for our farm and Risotto is our beef for next year.
For our complete calf-rearing plans, read: Raising a Dairy Calf
“A 1-pound increase in average daily gain before weaning could increase first-lactation milk yield as much as 700 pounds.”