Tip 3: Feeding a higher plane of nutrition prior to weaning is better than restricted feeding

Higher growth rates and ADG before and during weaning

Research (de Passillé et al. 2011, amongst many others) shows that calves weaned later, after being fed elevated milk levels, experience not only higher body weight and ADG prior to weaning than those fed restricted amounts of milk, but they also exhibit less of a growth dip during weaning.

YOUNG growth is essential to achieve full performance

It is critical that calves are supplied plenty of milk in the first weeks of life, in order for calves to have proper growth and development. It's during these first weeks that metabolic programming, or, in other words, setting the calves up to be successful in the months and years to come, takes place. As Trouw Nutrition's Dr Berends puts it, "It's precisely during the first 8 weeks of life that the animal's crucial development of organs and udder tissue takes place." Thus, investing in early feeding is essential.

Reduces hunger-induced stress and minimizes welfare concerns during weaning

Fewer behavioural signs of stress are present (Eckert, et al. 2015, amongst others) during weaning when calves are fed higher planes of nutrition prior to weaning. Feeding greater amounts of milk can reduce the distress hunger creates in young calves. Welfare concerns during weaning are also minimized when calves are fed an elevated level of nutrition pre-weaning.

Fewer signs of stress when calves are fed on a higher nutrition plane prior to weaning