Milk Replacer for Calves

Girl coming along, I got her at three weeks of age and had her about 3 weeks at the time of this photo, she had filled out quite a bit by this photo, going from two milk feedings a day to four helped steady her down.

While the wind howls and the freezing rain pelts the farm and coats the windows to the point that only grey defused light is coming in this morning, I am thinking about Milk Replacers..

You see I was at the feed store, getting another bag of replacer for girl, who if she lived in a typical barn would in fact be weaned now but I am giving her some extra months on the milk to hopefully give her the best start to her life as possable..

So normally I get the owner and “old guy” at the store that my Hay guy and breeder of Girl recommended that I use for the best results.. but this time, I got a young man, who said yes to the milk replacer and then asked me which of the two I would like.. the 20/16 or the 20/18, of which I did not want, I wanted what my girl has been on since the beginning, which is 24/18.. Turns out you need to use the key word Replacement Calf, not just milk replacer and top of the line to get your hands on that one..

The reason.. cost, the 20/16 costs 40 dollars for a 20 kg bag (or about 40 pds for those that don’t do Kg), the 20/18 will cost you another ten dollars for the same size bag but what my darling Girl is on, will cost you almost 70 dollars a bag for the same size.

Now as a interesting note my cow book says and I qoute ” The National research council recommends using a milk replacer with a minimun of 22 percent protein and ten percent fat, but calves will do better if the milk replacer contains 15 to 20 percent fat, they will grow faster and be less apt to get scours from inadequate nutrition”

I find this statement a bit of a huh, so why would anyone make or sell a product that point in fact would cause inadequate nutrition in a animal, there can only be one real answer to that, because someone somewhere does not care about their critters!  Do I need to even say, what they would be concerned about instead.. the amighty buck comes to mind.

It also goes on to say, that you should be careful to read your bags to see if you are getting milk based or vegetable based proteins..

This one was a eye popping one as well, because on those cheaper bags, at least five to eigth percent of the protein listed is vegetable based, I’m sorry but as a baby, it needs milk proteins.

It could be said that I am paying 30 dollars more for being able to give her milk, and in that case, so be it. A couple other things of note, my Feed guy had been selling me a matching starter, and it was working well, asked for and got a new bag of starter and within two weeks noticed that Girl didn’t seem quite as good, not bad in any way but not glowing either, checked her feed and it was close but quite right, they gave me a different starter (the cheap kind to go with the cheap milk for the butcher calfs) so went right back and got the replacement starter and within a week, it was doing it’s job correctly.

Talked to my hay guy and he has changed the hay I get normally for the sheep from one field to a different field for Girl, the sheep seem to love the hay and are doing really well on it but I found out that my hay guy tests his hay and then does his best to make sure his customers get the ones they need for their critters, I remember him asking me about the needs for sheep and goats when we moved here and started buying from him and he would always ask each spring, how did birthing go etc etc..

Now I know why, he never said why, but when I said, Girl does not like the sheep’s hay, he went.. yup, will send the boy down with hay for the calf, well, the sheep like the calf’s hay but so does Girl, she is eating around ten pds plus already and drinking 8 liters of water at time. I need to measure her but I would say well over 300 pds if I had to take a guess..

I am truly hopeful that the extra care shown now will have lasting results in regards to her life span as a family milk cow..

This entry was posted in Critters, farm, raw milk and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Milk Replacer for Calves

  1. Pingback: Morning Chores | Just another Day on the Farm

  2. Pingback: Marty-Question on costs from a reader | Just another Day on the Farm

  3. dreamfarming says:

    What a lucky little calf she is to be living on your farm!

  4. Pingback: Marty Return Info, Total cost per pd for the meat alone came in at 2.97 | Just another Day on the Farm

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