Cow is one of livestocks largely raised for its meat and fresh milk. Raising a dairy cow requires several important steps in order to get the best quality of the end product. It is important to provide your dairy calf with nutritious feed every day. The following describe 4 types of cattle feed for healthy dairy calves!
The first type of feed for your dairy calf is colostrum, normally given until your dairy calf reaches approximately 12 weeks old. It is directly fed from the mother cow’s milk. Colostrum is an important feed as it contains the required nutrition for the growth of your calf.
2. Calf starter
After reaching a certain age, your calf need to get weaned and you need to provide other type of feeds other than its mother milk’s colostrum. During weaning, you can introduce calf starter for your dairy calf. It is easy to prepare as it is also easy to be digested by the calf. Calf starter can be made from a mixture of several types of animal feed e.g. feed protein, grains, corn, cornstarch, etc.
3. Fresh milk
During weaning, you can switch the mother cow’s milk colostrum with a fresh milk. As the replacement of colostrum, the fresh milk can be given to the calf with 8-10% of its weight as the dose. You need to pay attention to the amount of fresh milk to prevent over feeding, which can negatively impact the progress of weaning. Giving your calf with too much fresh milk can also decrease its consumption of dry feed and lead to sickness e.g. diarrhea.
Other feed type for dairy calf is forage feed (leaves, greens). You only need to introduce your calf with it and you don’t need to give it as the main feed, because in its early days the calf is not yet able to properly digest it. You can start giving your dairy calf with forage feed after it reaches 2-3 weeks old. The provided greens has to be of good quality and soft in texture to ease the digestion progress. Below are the recommended grass type for calf:
- Kaliandra, Kaliandra is a plant type which can be easily found in highlands and lowlands. The fruit can be used as a high protein animal feed.
- Setaria grass, Setaria grass is also a good material for dairy calf feed, but you only need to introduce it due to its high nutrition. This grass is a common cattle feed material.
Now that you know 4 types of healthy feed for dairy calves, you are good to go! However it is important to stick with the requirement and limitation of each feed type, to get yourself a healthy dairy cow and good quality dairy milk. What more reasons not to love a cow?