Grain Consumption on Three Farms
More than 90 calves on each of the three calf ranches were assessed daily for 28 days. Farm 1 was a calf ranch raising dairy bull calves for beef and fed calves 2 quarts, twice daily of a medicated 22% Crude Protein (CP) and 18% Crude Fat (CF) milk replacer. Calves were observed from October through November. Farm 2 was a calf ranch raising dairy-sourced bull calves and heifer calves for replacements, in which calves were fed 2 quarts, twice daily, of a 22% CP: 22% CF medicated milk replacer. Calves were observed from January through February. Farm 3 raised dairy bull calves that were fed 2 quarts twice daily of a non-medicated milk replacer that was 22% CP and 18% CF. Calves 1 to 28 days of age on Farm 3 were observed in September. The average daily grain consumption for calves on each calf ranch (in cups) was calculated and plotted for each farm for 28 days of life (Figure 2). One cup of starter grain was equal to about 0.5 lb.
On Farm 1, starter grain consumption did not begin until about 8 days of age but rose over the next three weeks. By 4 weeks of age, calves were consuming about 3.5 cups (about 1.75 lb) per day. On Farm 2, calves had an earlier start in grain consumption, eating one-half cup (0.25 lb) of grain, on average, after 4 days of age but showed a slump in consumption between 10 and 14 days of age.