The Queen of Calves Nutrition Program

The Queen of Calves Nutrition Program was developed by Bell-Booth Ltd in New Zealand.  It includes;

  1. Fresh, first-milking colostrum, no older than 12 hours, in the first 24 hours of life
  2. 900 grams of Queen of Calves STARTER
  3. Wholemilk or stored colostrum; restricted to 2 litres twice daily or 4 litres per day
  4. 9 kilograms Queen of Calves FINISHER
  5. Clean water
  6. Unrestricted calf meal or pellets from week 2
  7. Roughage in the form of straw or hay
  8. Pasture, if available.

The Queen of Calves nutrition model, when fed at recommended rates, offers the calf a ‘restricted milk’ intake, from about 3 weeks of age onwards. By restricting the milk volume, it encourages greater appetite; the calf searches out for alternative and additional feed sources like calf meal, which encourages development of the rumen.packshot2

Days 1–18

2L whole milk with 25g Queen of Calves STARTER, morning and evening.
Freely available lengthy straw or summer hay.
Plentiful clean, fresh water.

Day 19 – weaning

4L whole milk with 200g Queen of Calves FINISHER, preferably split over two feeds(morning and evening). If you can only feed once a day, feed 4L whole milk with 200g in the afternoon.
Freely available lengthy straw or summer hay.
Calf meal/pellets from week 4.
Plentiful clean, fresh water.

Best Practice

  1. Before the season commences, set aside time to teach your calf-rearing staff about the importance of the milk-rearing phase on the future value of these animals once in the herd.
  2. Teach your staff how to make a premix, and how to prepare ahead for contingencies, example, how to cover when a key staff member is absent.
  3. Use a dust mask when handling.
  4. Milk should be offered warm. The calf will waste energy if it’s offered cold milk.
  5. Jersey and low-birth weight animals: commence at 180g/calf/day and increasing to 200g/calf/day after a week’s use of FINISHER, i.e. about day 27.
  6. The final Queen of Calves/milk mix is a suspension. It remains suspended for approximately 2 hours. If fallout should occur prior to feeding out, re-agitate and feed immediately.
  7. The combined mix should flow freely and not block feeder tubes or teats. Always flush  bowls, tubes and teats after each use with clean water to ensure hygiene and cleanliness.
  8. All mammals produce colostrum for approximately first 4 days, then wholemilk. But the quality of colostrum rapidly declines after day 1. First-milking, fresh colostrum has a high protein content as well as a high level of lgG’s   (immunoglobulins). Calves can only absorb the immunoglobulins in the first 24-36 hours, so we absolutely recommend that  your calves receive 4 litres of premium, first-milking colostrum in the first 12 hours of their life
  9. Avoid feeding antibiotic milk (generally from cows being treated for mastitis).
  10. Once you have added FINISHER to milk, feed out within 24 hours.

Clean, lengthy fibre is essential for early rumen development. Make sure it is widely distributed for free-access to all calves from week 1 until it completely transitions to a pasture diet. Quality calf meal/calf pellets should be available from week 2 and ad-lib from week 3 until fully weaned onto a pasture diet. All fibre and meal/pellets should be refreshed daily to avoid mould forming or adverse effects on intake that arise from soiled product. Calves can be offered pasture from a few days old, however they must always have access to well-ventilated, free-draining shelter, particularly in the juvenile phase.


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