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Top tips for automated milk feeding calves

Jason Short, northern business manager for Volac, runs through some of the key benefits of using automated milk feeders for calf rearing.

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Jason Short
Jason Short
  • 1. Saves time:

Less time is needed to feed calves as the process is automated

 

  • 2. More consistent:

Milk mixing rate and feeding temperature are consistently the same

 

  • 3. Little and often:

Calves can feed little and often which matches their natural behaviour and encourages the calf to eat concentrate which aids rumen development

 

  • 4. Feeding curves:

Individual calves in the same pen can be on different feeding regimes; this allows beef and dairy calves to be run together

 

  • 5. Improved hygiene:

The machines automatically rinse themselves; some systems also rinse and disinfect teats between calves

 

  • 6. Better management:

Less time feeding calves means you can spend more time doing other tasks such as weighing and monitoring growth rates

 

  • 7. Information:

The computer will inform you which calves have drunk and which have not; you can view feeding curves and also calf weights on some models

 

  • 8. Support:

Volac offers technical support for the two machines it sells: Urban feeders and Förster-Technik feeders; it can discuss where to site feeders and set-up feeding programmes


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Jasons top tips

 

  • Good stockmanship:

Calves still need to be checked visually; the computer can help to pinpoint calves which haven’t had their full milk allowance so action can be taken

 

  • Space requirement for grouped calves:

1.5sq.m/calf is the minimum space requirement

 

  • Environment:

Good drainage, ventilation and natural light are essential to maximise performance on any system

Sponsored by Youngstock Toolkit
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