Feeding and Management of Young Calves

Successful rearing of young calves is the key to success of dairy farming enterprise. Calves are the future replacement stocks for the cow and bulls. It is therefore important that they are rear economically to ensure early maturity for reducing age at first calving. Success of dairy project also depends upon fast rearing to breedable age and with a minimum mortality. Mortality of calves (0-1month) should be kept below 5 percent by following a proper package of practices and monthly schedule. Healthy calves with higher growth rate and low mortality rate are essential for more profit from a dairy farm.

Management lapses can reduce growth rates or milk production in growing calves and lactating animals and even small mistakes in feeding of very young calf can cause death. Additionally, the health of the calf, the development of its digestive tract function, and growth and development of its body during this period will influence subsequent performance. It is necessary to protect young calves from inclement weather conditions thus protective and comfortable shelter is of significant importance. Young Calves are best kept individually or in small groups.


Feeding schedule for Calves (0-6 months age group):
Age (days) Colostrum (Lit.) Milk (Lit.) Calf starter Green fodder
0-4 2-2.5 (1/10th of B.W)   - -
4-30 - 2.5-3.0 (1/10th of B.W)   Ad lib preferably leguminous fodder (after 15 days)
30-60 - 3.0-4.0 50-100 gm Ad lib
60-90   3.0-3.5 Fat separated Milk 100 gm to 250 gm Ad lib
90-180   1.5-0.5 250-750gm Ad Lib(leguminous or non leguminous)


Periodical deworming of calves is essential for proper utilization of nutrients.