First month

First month

Stimulating growth of the calf

The first month of a calf’s life sees the development of the rumen and preparation for weaning. The calf will still be dependent on whole milk or milk replacer so milk feeding levels and programs should be adjusted to the calf’s weight, health and climatic conditions.

Faster growth rates can be achieved by providing larger portions of feed as long as the amount is built up gradually to avoid diarrhoea.


  • Monitor average daily gains
  • Feed for growth rates above 750g/1.65lb per day (>2 times above maintenance requirement)
  • Adjust quantity of milk or milk replacer to ambient temperature
  • Offer access to good quality calf starter
    - Discard unconsumed calf starter between feedings
  • Provide access to fresh water
  • Give enough room for moving around, playing and running
  • Make the calves get up once a day and check health and alertness of calves: if signs of disease noticed, check the calf
  • When dehorning calves, use a local anesthetic and pain killer


  • Wet calves and wet bedding
  • Delayed follow-up of calves showing signs of decreased appetite or suspected disease
  • Mixing groups of calves in which the age difference is greater than three weeks
  • Bad air quality

You can find out much more about the calf’s first month in the Calf Management booklet.  

Contact your local DeLaval sales representative to learn all about calf management.

Feeding for high growth rate

Calf management booklet

DeLaval calf catalogue

At DeLaval we use cookies to make your website experience better. You can change your web browser settings if you do not allow cookies or do not want cookies to be saved. Read more about how DeLaval handles cookies. I have read and accepted the information on how DeLaval handles cookies.