Calf Starter Meal/Weaner Meals
Feeding a calf starter meal is to develop a calf’s rumen or more specifically the papillae (finger-like projections on the surface of the rumen) that absorb nutrients from the rumen contents. The earlier and quicker the rumen papillae develop, the more nutrients can be absorbed, the faster the calf grows, and the sooner it can be weaned. It has been shown that milk bypasses a calf’s rumen therefore development of the rumen is slow so it must be fed a starter meal separately from the milk to go to the rumen.
Microbes breakdown concentrates in the rumen and research has shown that the fatty acid butyrate made by the microbes from the breakdown of a starter meal that contains a concentrate like grain is the most potent stimulator of rumen papillae development.
A quality source of fibre like hay or straw is important for quick rumen development because it will prevent parakeratosis. Parakeratosis is a buildup of excessive keratin (fibrous protein) on the surface of the papillae which effectively covers the absorptive sites and reduces their ability to absorb nutrients. The physical abrasion of the fibre will prevent the buildup of keratin on the papillae.
Access to plenty of fresh water is essential for rumen development, remember milk bypasses the rumen and so does any potential moisture, if a calf is receiving starter meal which is heading for the rumen then it is essential that it is accompanied by moisture for proper function.
Bovatec is a feed additive that controls coccidiosis this is a parasitic disease usually affecting young calves aged 3-8 months and in some cases as early as 4 weeks of age. The disease causes calves to become sick, some may die and surviving animals can have long term intestine problems causing ill thrift and poor growth.
Seeds & Cereals Calf Meals contain the coccidiostat Bovatec.
Do not allow dogs, horses or other equids access to feed containing Bovatec, ingestion by these species may be fatal.
Bovatec is registered pursuant to the ACVM Act 1997 No AO 9679
Do not feed with other ionophores e.g. Monensin capsules, liquid or premix