Feb 18, 2020


The sound of yet another bottle calf bellering to be fed is not quite the sound every producer wants to hear, yet it is still one that will be answered with a bottle of milk and a smile as the calf jumps around, excited someone has come with food. While having bottle calves is not the ideal situation for most beef producers during calving season, there are programs in place that can help ease any producer’s mind in remedying how to get calves gaining when they cannot benefit from a mother’s own milk.

The first step in ensuring a bottle calf gets off on the right foot is to provide colostrum if it has not already received it. Land O Lakes® Colostrum Replacement is one way to replace maternal colostrum and support those calves who were not able to get it from their mom first. This product, derived from actual bovine colostrum, consists of powder that should be whisked into water and fed by bottle or esophageal tube on the calf’s first day. Colostrum replacement becomes necessary in cases where the cow cannot produce enough colostrum for both calves if born as twins or if she simply does not have any at all to give. Calves in these unfortunate circumstances can easily get started on life with such a product.

Second, a milk replacer needs to be placed in a calf’s diet to enable them to start eating and gaining weight right away. A product that will better skeletal growth and rumen development while getting calves eating and gaining faster includes Land O Lakes® Amplifier® Max Calf Milk Replacer. This research-proven product supports a healthy gut and growth performance on bottle calves while still maintaining digestibility. Feeding this product to bottle calves twice per day will ensure a balanced diet that will keep calves happy, healthy and gaining, just like any normal calf should.

Additionally, Land O Lakes® Herd Maker® can help transition calves before weaning. With this texturized feed, Herd Maker smooths the transition to dry feed. Once eating well, calves can be transitioned to the next product outlined below.

The final product recommended for bottle calves includes Land O Lakes® Intense Calf® Mixer. When mixed with whole shell corn, this product delivers energy and protein young calves need to boost growth even further when starting out on feed.

Ensure that your bottle calves will look their best despite their lack of maternal milk until weaning: Talk to your Dakotaland Feeds representative or Scott Kilber at 605-380-5262 to learn more about the bottle calf products that could work for you.

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