Rules and regulations for feeding calves from the first days of life

In order to grow the most productive cow, it must be properly fed from early childhood, carefully calculating the amount of feed at each stage of calf growth and development. Both milk feeding and the use of roughage have their own characteristics, which will be discussed later.

Diet for feeding and drinking calves at home

Unlike human children, calves grow very quickly, so their owner needs to prepare for frequent changes in the diet of young animals.

If at the initial stages small animals have enough mother’s milk, then after a few months they will have to gradually introduce solid food, clearly calculating its amount in each individual period of life.

There are three periods of calf development:

  1. Colostrum.
  2. Lactic.
  3. Post-dairy.

Each of them provides its own feeding scheme.

Up to six months

Already in the first six months of their life, calves go through all stages of nutrition: from maternal colostrum to roughage. Each of them has its own characteristics, so it is important to consider all the possible nuances when choosing feed mixtures.

Milk feeding

Maternal colostrum is the main and only calf food from the first days of life after calving and for the next 7-10 days. It is easily absorbed by the animal’s still unformed body and enriches it with the necessary set of nutritional components (in particular, vitamin A, proteins, fats and carbohydrates).

During this period, the calf is not recommended to be weaned from the cow, but if this still happened, the owner will have to feed the baby on his own.

To do this, freshly milked colostrum (temperature +37 ° C) and teat drinkers are used (among other benefits, they perfectly prevent possible colostrum folding in the stomach, which often results from increased calf “greed” when consumed).

Important! Regardless of which half of the day the calves were born, they should drink colostrum already in the first half hour after that, otherwise, along with the sucking reflex, a habit will appear to lick the surrounding surfaces, and this may well lead to the ingress of pathogens into the body.

On the first day after birth, the animal drinks 1 liter of colostrum, on the second - already 2 liters, and on the third, 3 liters, respectively.

If in the first 10 days the calf does not have enough maternal colostrum, you can replace it with a home-made product, which consists of:

  • fresh warm milk (1 l);
  • fish oil (15 g);
  • salts (10 g);
  • 4 fresh chicken eggs.

All these components are mixed until the salt is completely dissolved, after which they give a 300 ml calf 30 minutes before the milk itself.

No less useful for dairy calves will be milk obtained from several cows at once. It contains a large number of antibodies that increase the immunity of the newborn, and also contains a lot of nutrients that will be especially useful for weakened calves and animals obtained from heifers.

Therefore, if the farm contains several cows, the question of how and how to feed the young animals will disappear by itself.

Important! On the first day after birth, the calf’s body is most susceptible to external influences, so all additives and growth stimulants mixed with milk will be absorbed as much as possible .

The milk dispensing scheme is as follows:

  • immediately after birth (within an hour) they give prefabricated colostrum (individual nipples are used, and feeding itself is performed 5-6 times a day);
  • from 7 to 15 days you can water a weekly or two-week calf with milk only (4-5 times a day);
  • for 15–20 days vitamins are added to milk and animals are gradually transferred to roughage.

Transitional diet

Starting from ten days of age, in between the consumption of milk or colostrum, the baby can be given warm boiled water, pouring it into the same drinkers as milk.

Ten-day-old calves and older individuals are already fed not with boiled, but high-quality water, bringing its total amount to 500-700 g per day (the temperature of the liquid should not be lower than +12 ° C).

The first non-dairy food of a young bull or calf may be soft boiled potatoes, which are added to the animal’s diet near the end of the second week of life. At this time, the main organ of the calf’s digestion (scar) is at the formation stage and is still very vulnerable, so the introduction of solid food should be smooth.

If you don’t have time to cook soft calf food yourself, you can purchase ready-made starter feeds that soften the transition from milk to grass, hay and succulent feeds. Usually they are used around the end of the second week of life, replacing some of the milk receptions. It will also be useful for you to find out

Is it possible to feed calves with milk powder? In the classic version, such feeds contain:

  • 42% extruded barley grain;
  • 15% extruded corn;
  • 12% crushed wheat;
  • 5% skimmed milk powder;
  • 17% of soybean meal
  • 5% feed yeast;
  • 1.5% - a small amount of feed fat, salt and premix.

The use of such starter feeds helps to accelerate the formation of normal digestive processes and reduce unpleasant side effects when switching to a rough diet.

A small amount of hay can be included in the transitional diet (no more than 50 g per day, bringing this amount to 200 g in a few weeks). The animal can be accustomed to silage and haylage closer to the second month of its life.

Did you know? Cows have a very subtle sense of time. If the owner is at least half an hour late with milking, milk yield will decrease by 5%, and milk fat will fall by 0.2-0.4%.

Use of roughage

Milk in the diet of small calves is present up to three months of age, but after three weeks its share is gradually reduced.

The first replacement is carried out using the mentioned starter compound feeds (not more than 100-150 g per day) or flattened oats, after which the menu includes a mixture of concentrates supplemented with:

  • herbal flour;
  • chopped green grass;
  • or chopped dry hay.

Monthly calves are introduced into the diet:

  • roots;
  • silage;
  • green grass;
  • haylage.

But until the age of three months, their total amount should not exceed the amount of milk or feed mixture.

In order not to make a mistake in calculating the required amount of roughage for calves in the first six months of their life, you can focus on the following table:

1-2 months3-4 months5-6 months
Milk5-7 kg1-2 kg0
Hay50-300 g1-1.5 kg2.5-3 kg
Silage0-100 g1-2 kg4-6 kg
Roots50-300 g1-1.5 kg1-1.5 kg
Compound feed0.1-0.8 kg1, 5 kg1-0.8 kg
Premix0.2-0.6 kg0.7-0.9 kg0.9-1 kg

The indicated norms of consumption of various products reflect only the average value of the monthly feed supply, but during each period its daily share will change. For example, during the training of the calf to new types of food, it is necessary to periodically increase the output of hay and haylage, then reduce its amount in the diet.

In the summer period, calf nutrition can be diversified due to cheaper green mass, but the required daily amount of feed will be more influenced by the energy intensity of a particular feed mixture.

Lack of milk during the second month of the animal’s life can be compensated by quality feed. Good results can be achieved by issuing soy concentrates, since all beans contain a lot of protein.

If you wish, you can even cook the feed yourself, using the following products when creating the menu:

  • 23.5% chopped barley grain;
  • 30% extruded peas;
  • 20% of corn;
  • 22% chopped soy;
  • 3% of the mineral component;
  • 1% premix.

Up to 1.5 kg of such feed per day can be fed to the little ones of the second month of life, while almost completely eliminating whole milk from the diet.

During this period, such changes will not cause violations of the gastrointestinal tract of the animal, which can not be said about monthly calves.

In any case, the transition to roughage should be as smooth as possible so as not to injure the tender stomach of young animals. After 6 months of age, there will be less problems with this.

Features of the diet after six months

The diet of calves after six months of age largely depends on the purpose for which they are raised. Fattening gobies will need a richer menu with more nutrients than heifers raised to get milk in the future. Therefore, after six months of age, it makes sense to consider the characteristics of feeding calves, depending on their gender.


Starting from six months of age and up to two years, the proportion of feed in the diet of future cows should constantly increase. The little ones are less picky about the quality of the food given to them, but, like the bulls, they should regularly receive good and high-quality compound feed, hay and clean water.

To feed animals, you can use fresh or boiled potatoes and carrots.

When compiling the diet, one must take into account the fact that by 16-18 months of age, the heifers should weigh at least 360-400 kg. At the same time, obesity of animals should not be allowed, which is often observed when feeding with concentrated feed alone.

It is advisable to grow repair heifers separately from gobies, since grass and legumes rich in fiber should be the basis of their diet.

It is also helpful to give them:

  • alfalfa;
  • clover;
  • oilcake;
  • meal

In winter, succulent feed and hay will help replace green herbs, to which vitamin and mineral supplements should be added. The proportion of concentrates in the diet of heifers should not exceed 2-3 kg per day, depending on the weight of the young cow.

A properly selected diet will help to grow healthy females, which in the future will give good offspring.


Feeding of calves in many ways resembles feeding of heifers, only the daily amount of concentrated feed in this case increases to 5-6 kg per day, which is due to the need for weight gain. Find out more

Features of fattening gobies for meat: an effective diet and feeding rules It does not make sense to keep a bull for more than a year and a half, but already at this age a lot of feed is spent on it.

To save compound feeds and other purchased nutritional compounds will help such food industry waste as:

  • bard;
  • beer grains.

In addition to them you can mix:

  • silage;
  • concentrated cereal feed;
  • additional vitamin supplements.

Bards contain a large amount of protein, and the shortage of other important components can be easily compensated with concentrates. It is better not to give green grass and succulent food to bulls, since they are mostly composed of water and will not be able to saturate the animal well for optimal weight gain.

Important! To achieve good results in growing a teenage bull, it is worth limiting its motor activity, preventing excessive consumption of energy and accumulated calories.

Vitamin Supplements for Calves

Dietary supplements will be effective both in feeding heifers and in raising bulls, the main thing is to choose vitamins that are ideal for each group of animals. We bring to your attention several formulations popular today that have already proven their effectiveness in practice.


In veterinary medicine, this drug is used as a prophylactic in the fight against hypovitaminosis. It is equally effective both against calves and other farm animals, which is largely due to the presence of such beneficial components as vitamins A, E, D3.

The use of the drug is possible both intramuscularly and through the introduction of animal feed. In the case of calves, 2-3 ml of the drug is injected subcutaneously once every 7 days, or 3 ml of the composition is fed daily with food (for 3-4 weeks).

There are no restrictions on the use of other drugs or feed additives, since Trivitamin is a vitamin complex.


Many consider Biovit-80 to be an ordinary food supplement, but against the background of many other similar formulations it stands out favorably with a more effective action, which is confirmed by the half-century practice of using this light brown powder.

The main active ingredients are vitamin B12 and chlortetracycline hydrochloride, which can be used both for preventive purposes and for the treatment of some common cattle diseases:

  • pasteurellosis;
  • Escherichiosis;
  • salmonellosis;
  • bronchopneumonia;
  • gastroenterocolitis.

In any of these cases, Biovit is given to animals along with food or drink, calculating the desired dosage in grams per head.

When feeding calves in this matter, it is worthwhile to focus on such norms:

Age (in days)Dose per 1 calf (in grams)

The specified amount of the drug is given to animals once a day, for 5-7 days.


Effective prophylactic in prevention:

  • hypo - and vitamin deficiencies;
  • rickets;
  • osteomalacia;
  • tetany;
  • toxic dystrophy of the liver;
  • dermatitis;
  • catarrhal inflammation.

In addition, the composition is used for faster healing of ulcers, wound surfaces on the skin and mucous membranes of farm animals.

The main components of "Eleovita" are:

  • retinol (A);
  • vitamin D3;
  • tocopherol (E);
  • thiamine (B1);
  • vikasol (K3);
  • riboflavin (B2);
  • folic acid (B9);
  • biotin (H);
  • pantothenic acid;
  • nicotinamide (a derivative of nicotinic acid);
  • amino acids.

The drug is administered to calves only intramuscularly, by injection in the femoral or cervical zone, at a dosage of 2-3 ml per individual. For therapeutic purposes, it is used once every 7-15 days, and for prophylactic purposes injections are taken at intervals of 2-3 weeks.

Important! At the injection site, a slight reddening of the skin can be observed, which will disappear on its own after 10-14 days.


The preparation "Gavryusha" belongs to the group of premixes and provides the growing organism of the animal with vitamins and mineral salts, which contributes to an increase in weight gain while reducing the amount of feed mixtures produced.

For preventive purposes, it is used to prevent problems such as:

  • rickets;
  • dyspepsia;
  • infectious diseases;
  • violation of metabolic processes in the body of animals.

It is also worth noting the good effectiveness of Gavryusha in improving the appetite of young animals and replenishing vitamin reserves of calves.

In this case, the main components of the drug are:

  • retinol;
  • tocopherol;
  • D3.

Their action is complemented by:

  • iron;
  • copper;
  • manganese;
  • zinc;
  • cobalt;
  • iodine.

Before issuing the premix, the powder must be mixed with the feed mixture, in the calculation of 10-150 g per individual, depending on its age (up to six months a day give no more than 50-60 g of premix). When adding premix mixed with wheat flour, it can only be added to chilled feed.


The composition of this biological product is much more interesting than the previous ones, since its effect is based on an extract from cattle spleen.

The metabolic processes in the body of a calf are positively affected by those contained in it:

  • peptides;
  • nucleosides;
  • nucleotide bases;
  • some other bioactive compounds.

They support his immune forces and regulate hormones.

The drug is prescribed to calves in order to:

  • increase in average daily gain;
  • increase resistance to adverse environmental factors;
  • complex treatment of chronic and mild skin ailments;
  • accelerate the growth and development of young animals.

Before using the composition, it is necessary to shake it, then dial into the syringe and inject subcutaneously into the cervical zone. For calves, the optimal single dose of the drug is 0.1-0.2 ml per 1 kg of live weight. Frequency of use - 1 time per day, for three days. If necessary, the procedure is repeated after a month.

Did you know? From the very first days of life, newborn calves need social contacts, and after a few weeks, if possible, try to stay closer to their peers, arranging fun games with them. They differ in this need from many other animals at a similar age.

Useful tips from specialists

In order for the calf to grow up healthy, and not to have problems with well-being, he just needs regular and balanced nutrition.

However, in some cases, even in such a simple matter as feeding, certain difficulties may appear, the following tips will help you figure it out:

  1. If the cow does not have colostrum and the calf is starving, for several feedings the usual semolina porridge prepared in milk at the rate of 4 tablespoons of cereal per 3 liters of milk is suitable.
  2. Starting from 6-7 days after calving, clean water should always be in the stall so that a small animal can get drunk at any time. In the absence of a sufficient amount of liquid, the level of assimilation of nutrients from the food received is significantly reduced, which means that the growth and development of the calf will be slowed down.
  3. With a weight of 45 kg, the baby should drink at least 7-8 liters of milk per day, preferably divided into 3-5 receptions. Two-time feeding does not allow to obtain such high results as reusable.
  4. It is better to start teaching a baby to hay from the 6-7th day of life, using only a fresh, slightly dried product, without rough or dry parts. The collected bundle can either be tied 10 cm above the back of the animal, or simply thrown into the feeder.

Другие корма стоит вводить в рацион, придерживаясь следующей схемы:

  • концентраты и комбикормовые смеси — не ранее двухнедельного возраста;
  • морковка — примерно с 15—17 дня;
  • варёные картофель и яблоки — с 20—21 дня;
  • мел и поваренная соль — только после третей недели жизни;
  • кормовая свёкла — после одного месяца.

На самом деле выкармливание телят при наличии рядом коровы — не такое сложное дело, как может показаться. Животные сами знают, что и как делать для своего хорошего самочувствия, но если вы ожидаете от коровы больших удоев для себя, тогда придётся начинать подкормку малыша как можно раньше.

Для опытных фермеров этот процесс не новый, ну а новичкам помогут разобраться вышеприведённые рекомендации и опыт специалистов.

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