Monday, May 21, 2012

Bottle feeding calves milk replacer

Two of the main concerns when bottle feeding calves milk replacer is  1) how often 2) how much. These are the most important factors because every aspect of calf’s health can depend on it. 

How often is bottle feeding calves milk replacer done? Should the calf be bottle fed twice a day or should the calf be bottle fed more than that like three to four times a day?

When bottle feeding calves milk replacer it should be done twice a day only. Once in the morning and then again in the evening. Ideally you would want it to be every 12 hours apart but this is not always possible. If you were bottle feeding calves milk replacer at 6 am and 6 pm great, but if do to available time it was 6 am and 7pm that would be Ok. You just want to get the feeding times as close to 12 hours apart as you can.

How much when bottle feeding calves milk replacer?

In general a 50 to 100 pound calf at birth to to week old can be fed 2 4 pint bottles a day. It has been my experience with bottle feeding calves milk replacer for numerous of years and almost every different breed type from milk stock to beef breeds that 1 four pint bottle twice a day is ideal for every calf.
Of the hundreds of calf that I have bottle fed, I have only came across two that required more milk than the 4 pint bottle at each feeding and less than 6% of required less. With bottle feeding calves milk replacer less than 4 pints at a time is easy to know, the calf will only suck what it needs to be full.

Calf starter feeds should always be fed along with milk replacer. It improves the heath by limiting bacteria growth that can fed off the milk replacer.

When bottle feeding calves milk replacer you do not increase the amount of milk replacer fed as the calf grows. The calf adjust it’s needs by eating more starter feed. As the calf grows you place more solid feed for the calf to eat.


  1. This was very helpful thank you!

  2. Thank you going to try it

  3. Thank you so much. Can I let it have hay. It likes the dry hay but not the Producers Pride calf starter and it needs roughage because it has the scours.

  4. I have a 1 week old that is possibly blind, and has yet to find the starter feed. Should I introduce it by hand? I've also been told by one man that 4 pints is too much for him, and he is only getting 4 pints total per day. While another man says he needs more. Help!

  5. I wouldn't get serious about the starter until 4 -6 weeks old. Is the eyes cloudy or milky looking? 4 pints a day is ok for now but do try to increase it little by little the next few weeks. The goal should be the 2 feeding a day of 4 pints. The eyes do concern me sign of sinus infection and needs antibiotics if they have a cloudy half like in the bottom.

  6. I have a almost 2 week old calf she was a twin. The mom cleaned her and feed her for two days then left her. She is very spunky and doing very well as of today but i feed her 4 pints twice a day and she acts like she is still hungary. Do i let her eat what she wants. We started giving her a extra 2 pints about 3 hours after her evening feed is that wrong? Please help to help me fill her belly. When do we start starter feeds..... She is red angus...... Thank You

    1. The extra 2 pints 3 hours later is ok you can go ahead with the starter feed but it may be a few weeks before she really starts eating it and I always have hay out.


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