How much milk replacer should I be feeding a week old calf and will the calf need more milk replacer as it grows?
Two solid questions that anyone attempting to raise a calf on a bottle will need to know. The amount of milk replacer needed for calf is two four pint bottles twice a day. I have raised hundreds of bottle calves through out the years and it has been my experiences when bottle feeding calves that this same amount of milk replacer will work for 98% of the calf out there on a bottle.
You might think that as the calf grpws it would need more milk. The growing little body needs energy. The fact is that No, a calf does not need more milk as it grows. The calf should be bottle fed for the first 6 to 8 weeks of it's life and possible up to 3 months of age if it is under 80 pounds of weight. During this time there is no need to increase the amount of milk the calf is drinking.
The calf will increase the amount solid feed it will be eating hay, grass, and grains. The amount of grain feed will increase as the little calf grows. This will supply the energy the calf needs. Trying to increase the amount of milk given to the calf will only cause problems.
Calves are little cows and have the same 4 chamber stomach that cows got. Many times you hear that a cows has 4 stomachs. That's not all true. A cow has 4 chambers of one stomach or four parts that do different digestion.
When a calf is born the chamber that digest milk and act much like our stomach is doing the main job of digesting. It is the largest chamber of the calves stomach but around 30 days old it's stomach makes a change the other part of the stomach grows. This chamber does the digesting of grass, grain, and foliage. It is now becoming the main chamber of stomach. The first stomach starts getting smaller and smaller has the calf grows.
That is why you don't increase the amount of milk you feed a bottle calf as it grows.