When a calf is 4 months of age half of its nutritional requirements should be met by forage and concentrates rather than milk. Supplying creep feed before weaning can help smooth the transition from pre- to post-weaning and the extra source of nutrients can compensate for the reduction in milk yield as lactation progresses.
- Weaning weights can be increased by around 25kg, which help get calves away
- Weaning check lowered through less stress from weaning – familiar with concentrate feed and rumen microbes are adapted for a change in diet
- When there is less stress at weaning there is a reduced incidence of pneumonia.
- Most efficient age for converting feed to kilos
Creep feeding is extremely efficient owing to the calf’s high potential growth rate. Since the rest of the calf’s diet (i.e. milk and forage) already more than meets the requirement for maintenance, all the nutrients from the creep are used for growth. This means that the conversion of creep to live weight gain is efficient at around 4kg feed/kg gain and is economically worthwhile.
Karen Stewart, email@example.com
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