Calf Milk Replacer Feeding Guidelines

Milk Replacer Guide

Milk Replacer is a consistent quality feed to meet the growth and development targets of the young calf. Feed at routine regular intervals to avoid gorging and upsetting digestion of the feed. As a general rule, calves need to drink 10% of their body-weight, e.g. a calf of 40kg needs 4L per day.

The optimal drinking temperature of the calf milk replacer is 39°C. To prepare the milk, dissolve the powder in two-thirds of the amount of water at 55-60°C. Then add the remaining water at room temperature until the optimum drinking temperature is reached. Note: 1 kg of milk powder in 7L water gives 8L milk.

Calf Management Practices

There are many other factors to consider when feeding milk replacer and it is also important to pay attention to the following calf management practices:

Feed Ingredients: Use high quality ingredients which are palatable and of suitable texture and particle size to stimulate rumen function.

Concentrates: Introduce from day 3 onwards. Give in small amounts and no more than is consumed in a 12 hour period and change the feed regularly. Target 1kg/head/day pre weaning with calves ready to be weaned when they eat >1.5 kg of concentrate per day. Offer calf starter feed from 3-5 days to 4 months and change to a growing ration post weaning to achieve daily intakes of 2.5-3.0 kg head/day.

Equipment: Clean all materials that come into contact with the milk thoroughly. All feed equipment must be clean to avoid unnecessary cross contamination of unwanted pathogens.

Stress: Good management and environmental conditions will help avoid unnecessary stress. Avoid sudden changes to feed and group calves to size, ensuring all have adequate feeding space.

Observe: Regularly check the colour and solidity of the calves’ dung.

Adequate Roughage and Water: Ensure that the calves have enough fresh roughage, preferably top quality straw, from the age of 2 weeks. Ensure that fresh drinking water is at their disposal at all times. Insufficient water slows rumen development and reduces feed conversion rates. Dry feed intake is stimulated by adequate water intake.

Vitalac Milk Replacer Feeding Guidelines

Our feeding schedule is a good guideline, but it is important to note that some calves might need special attention. The amount of milk should be adjusted to the needs of the calf. Below we discuss our feeding guidelines when it comes to Vitalac Milk Replacer Bucket Feeding and Automatic Feeding.

vitalac calf milk replacer bags


TABLE: Vitalac Milk Replacer Bucket Feeding (Twice a day feeding)

Bucket Feeding

TABLE: Vitalac Milk Replacer Automatic Feeding (Twice-a-day feeding)

Automatic Feeding

Agritech recommend twice-a-day feeding. Our Vitalac Blue Milk Replacer can be used for twice-a-day feeding, however it is also ideally suited for once-a-day feeding, due to the higher level of concentrates. Please see our guidelines below when feeding Vitalac Blue in a once-a-day system.

TABLE: Vitalac Blue Milk Replacer Bucket Feeding (Once-a-day feeding)

Vitalac Blue Bucket Feeding


For more information, browse our Vitalac Calf Milk Replacer page or download the Agritech-Milk-Replacer-Brochure (2.5MB). To buy our Vitalac Calf Milk Replacer, contact your local sales rep/distributor.

Recommended further reading
Calf Rearing Guide: Practical and easy to use. S.J. Charlton. Published by Context.


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