Maintain your focus on
growth and apply a
balanced diet

5 months until breeding

Feed a balanced diet to ensure sufficient growth.

Other rearing dairy calves topics

Around calving
0-2 DAYS
3-49 DAYS
8-10 WEEKS
5 months until breeding

Most farmers feed according to a well-designed plan up to the first few weeks after weaning and carefully monitor the results. Once the calf reaches the age of 5 months and the transition to a diet including forage was managed successfully, there is a tendency to feed what is readily available, sometimes without a clear view on the needs of the calf and also to stop monitoring growth and development in a systematic way. After reaching the age of 5 months, a balanced diet should be fed to ensure sufficient growth without excessive fat deposition. A challenge can be to feed enough crude protein.

Check your checkpoints

From weaning to breeding it is important to keep a close eye on the checkpoints. Each goal for Age at First Calving (AFC) has its own measures. Here an overview of checkpoints (Table 1) for a cow-herd with a mature bodyweight (MBW) of 700 kg. This is a normal bodyweight for Holstein Frisian cows.

Other breeds of cows have a different mature body weight (Table 20). This table is set for an Age at first calving of 23 months, for different mature bodyweight:

table 1
Checkpoints @ 23 mm AFC - Holstein Frisian
AFC 23m
AFC 24m
AFC 25 m
AFC 26m
Bodyweight at 3 months 126 120 113 106
Bodyweight at 6 months 221 209 197 185
Bodyweight at 1 year 398 378 357 337
Avg. daily gain year 1 975 920 864 808
Age at first breeding 13 14 15 16
Age at first calving 23 24 25 26
table 2
Checkpoints @ 23m AFC - Other breeds
700kg MBW
600kg MBW
525kg MBW
450kg MBW
Bodyweight at 3 months 126 108 95 81
Bodyweight at 6 months 221 190 166 142
Bodyweight at 1 year 398 341 298 256
Avg. daily gain year 1 975 836 731 627
Age at first breeding 13 13 13 13
Age at first calving 23 23 23 23

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