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Healthy heifers, better developed with Kaliber - Focus on colostrum and calf milk

- Following De Heus' four-phase Kaliber® Young Rearing Plan results in heifers that calve at 24 months and weigh 570 kilos after calving. Throughout the entire rearing period, the animals show 'Kaliber'. Kaliber means that the backline and the last ribs are clearly visible and heifers develop optimally in terms of height, length and carcass. The Kaliber® Young Rearing Plan achieved significant results on many farms and comprises the following four phases:

  • Start Phase
  • Pre-puberty Phase
  • Puberty Phase
  • Gestation Phase

In this article, we only address the unique aspects of the Start Phase.

Extending colostrum period

Dairy farmers generally tend to switch over quickly to feeding artificial milk after the colostrum period. Research conducted by De Heus into this period at more than ten farms in the Netherlands has provided additional information. This research shows that calves that are administered colostrum or transition milk from their own mother for three days have a better developed gastrointestinal tract. Due to the better development of the intestines, the animal is able to absorb more nutrients and the bacterial flora in the intestines is better. To monitor the quality of the colostrum, De Heus has developed a method to easily determine quality using refractometers.

Mixing ratio of milk

The mixing ratio for all types of milk powder is 150 grams of powder per litre of milk. For example: to prepare ten litres of milk requires 1.5 kilos of powder. The 1.5 kilos of powder must be dissolved in half of the required water at 50-55°C. Next, lukewarm water is added to end up with ten litres at 40°C. In a drinking dispenser, this translates into a setting of 175 grams per litre, because the drinking dispenser bases its calculation on the quantity of powder per litre of water.

Higher daily gain

Several studies show that a higher daily gain in the first weeks of life results in a higher milk production after calving. Every 100 grams of additional day growth before weaning results in an additional 250 kilos milk production after calving. In order to achieve high daily which is suited to the management of the farm. De Heus has developed new feeding schedules for livestock farmers who wants to increase daily gain prior to weaning. Switching from a standard 6 litre schedule to a higher feeding schedule results in the fact that first a number of strict preconditions need to be met. Some of these preconditions are: Transition phase of dairy cows, The supply and quality of colostrum and Hygiene. And these must be excellent!

Kaliber Selector

What is the best milk feeding schedule for your farm? De Heus has developed the Kaliber Selector for this purpose. When using the Kaliber Selector, you review a number of key aspects of your rearing management together with your cattle specialist. The result is the most suitable milk feeding schedule and feedback on the most critical points in your rearing management.

The Kaliber Young Rearing Plan, provides optimal advice in rearing and weaning your calves into heifers. Of course, also for the remaining phases of the Kaliber Rearing Plan guidelines are provided. Our trained cattle specialists explain and advise you on how best to apply Kaliber in your own farm situation.

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