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Calf Milk Replacer Buyer’s Guide

Start your calf’s feeding program with the right calf milk replacer.

Calves have specific nutritional needs that are met with a milk replacer. Choosing the right milk replacer for your calf’s feeding program comes down to knowing what to look for, and what you can afford within your budget. With the help of Blain’s Farm & Fleet, you can find the right calf milk replacer. As always, we recommend working with your veterinarian when coming up with a feeding program for your calves.

Calf Milk Replacer Buyer's Guide
A milk replacer meets the nutritional needs of a baby calf until they’re old enough to graze in the pasture. Learn about the different types of calf milk replacers with Blain’s Farm & Fleet.

What to Look For

Protein – Protein levels in calf milk replacer range from 18% to 30%. Your calf’s performance and growth can be affected by the level of protein, and differing protein to fat ratios. Essentially, you want proteins that will be easily digestible for your young calf. Protein sources are categorized as “all milk,” or come from alternative sources, like soy flour and animal plasma.

Fat – Fat levels will range from 10% to 28%. The higher the fat level, the higher the energy for your calf. Calves are commonly given milk replacer with a 20% protein/20% fat ratio.

Medicated Milk Replacers

Some calf milk replacers are medicated, which can provide health benefits for your calves. Always make sure that the medications listed are USDA approved for calves. Below are some of the common medications found in milk replacer.

  • Lasalocid – Used for control of coccidiosis caused by  Eimeria bovis and Eimeria zuernii.
  • Neomycin/Oxytetracycline – Used to treat scours and increased weight gain.
  • Decoquinate – Used with ruminating and non-ruminating calves and cattle for prevention of coccidiosis caused by Eimeria bovis and Eimeria zuernii.
  • Chlortetracycline – Used for increased weight gain and improved feed efficiency.

Of course, calf heath should not depend solely on a medicated milk replacer. Proper biosecurity measures, herd management and sanitary conditions all play a role in keeping cattle healthy. It’s also important to note any health issues that your calf may already have. Work with your vet before putting your calf on a medicated feed program.

Colostrum Supplements

Colostrum supplements are available for newborn calves. Colostrum is full of antibodies that help protect the newborn calf from disease. They’re typically used when colostrum supplies are poor or low. Calves can be provided with enough globulin proteins with the supplements, when mixed with maternal colostrum.

At Blain’s Farm & Fleet, you can trust the animal experts to provide you with the supplies needed for taking care of your calves and full-grown cattle. With our wide selection of dairy supplies and livestock feed, you’ll have the right equipment to care for your animals. For more tips on caring for animals at home and on the farm, visit our Pet Care and Hobby Farming blogs.

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