How to feed calves
· At the beginning, with
The first stomach of a young calf is not fully developed. It
cannot ruminate. If it is fed grass, it cannot digest it (see page 8).
But milk is digested without ruminating. So the best food for a
young calf is the mother's milk.
But too often the cows do not have much milk and the calves
cannot drink enough.
Never feed two calves with the milk of only one cow.
The cow gives too little milk to feed two calves.
A two- month- old calf fed with its mother's milk needs 4 to 6
litres of milk a day.
During the first 2 months leave all the mother's milk for the
young calf. During this period do not milk the cow. Keep all her milk for the
It pays better to do that.
If you sell milk during these
first 2 months, you earn a little money.
But the calf will not be well fed,
it will not put on weight.
It may die.
In that case you will lose a lot of
· Later, with grass
For 2 months the calf drinks its mother's milk.
At the age of 3 weeks, it can be given a little green grass. Its
stomach develops and it begins to ruminate. At 3 months it can digest grass. The
calf, we say, is then weaned. It no longer needs all its mother's milk. The cow
can then be milked.
After weaning, the calf no longer drinks its mother's milk and
feeds on grass.
Weaning is often the time when calves die. It is difficult for
calves to change from one food to another.
To help a calf at weaning, give it a feed supplement as well as
grass. If you mix this feed supplement with water, the calf will digest it
Do not forget to give calves a mineral supplement (see page 17).
If a calf lacks mineral salts its bones will be badly formed.
FEED SUPPLEMENTS AT WEANING
You may give the calf any of the following:
Millet, sorghum, maize, rice are good feed for calves.
these cereals so that they are well digested.
1 kg of crushed millet feeds a
calf as well as 2 kg of whole millet grain.
These feeds are costly.
are food for people, but you can give animals grain that is broken or damaged by
insects, and the part that people do not eat, that is, the bran of rice, maize
· Oil cake
This is the name for what remains when the oil has been taken
from groundnuts, copra, oil palm kernels or cottonseed.
Oil cake is good
food, rich in protein.
Meal for calves Dealers sometimes sell meal for animals. This
meal is a mixture of crushed grain and oil cake.
For instance, to make 100 kg
of meal, the following mixture is used:
62 kg of crushed sorghum
35 kg of groundnut oil cake
of mineral supplement.
The 3 kg of mineral supplement contain:
0.6 kg lime
0.3 kg salt
2.5 kg bone