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Milk Replacer Rookie

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 11:20 pm
by Aaron9876
Hello all,

I am in the planning phase of acquiring some cattle and had a few questions about using milk replacer for bottle fed calves. The one question i cant seem to find an answer for is once the milk replacer is mixed with water how long is it good for? The reason behind this question is that my work schedule would not permit me to always be there 12 hours after the morning feeding for a calf for the next round. It would be relatively simple to in the mornings mix a double batch, feed the first half then put the second half in a delayed feeder. Basically let the second half of the batch cool off in a container then with a timer reheat and dispense the rest of the mixture for consumption. There are commercial variants of this but they all mix the MR powder and water right then and there and are far out of my price range. Is this just a matter of convince or is there another reason for this. Premixing the MR and water would mean feeding could be done with a timer, heater, and electronic valve.

Thanks

Re: Milk Replacer Rookie

Posted: Sat Feb 06, 2016 7:11 am
by Craig Miller
I always use it right then. Never thought about mixing 12 hours ahead of time. You probably can't find the answer because everybody knows if you can't commit to being there to feed at a regular time then you don't need bottle calves.

Re: Milk Replacer Rookie

Posted: Sat Feb 06, 2016 11:03 am
by Aaron9876
well there may be some truth to that but as i said im stlll planning. Ide like to know my options.

Re: Milk Replacer Rookie

Posted: Sun Feb 07, 2016 6:05 am
by regolith
reconstituted milk will sour just like ordinary milk.

Calves will happily drink cold milk/sour milk if they are used to it - I would definitely not try this with very young calves, nor recommend alternating feeds between fresh warm milk and sour milk for any calves - some may decide which they prefer and choose not to take the sour milk.
Souring will be minimal if the first batch of milk is chilled quickly and kept cold. Another option to look at would be yogatising - as long as it doesn't get too thick to be suckled, the yoghurt starter will give a consistent culture/taste.

ad-lib or once daily feeding systems may also work well.
If this is your first time raising calves you're better to do it the traditional way till you know what you're doing - which does mean being there 2x daily at least, and you'll need to be there much more often than that if you have to deal with scours.

Re: Milk Replacer Rookie

Posted: Sun Feb 07, 2016 7:09 am
by Son of Butch
Milk replacer solids separate and for best results need to be fed in liquid suspension.
Mix up a couple quarts and see what it looks like 8 hours later and to see how much remixing would be required.
If I were going to feed with a timer, I'd go with 8 hour feeding intervals instead of 12.

Re: Milk Replacer Rookie

Posted: Sun Feb 07, 2016 12:31 pm
by jedstivers
Why plan on bottle calves anyway?
That's the worst thing in the world.
I have 3 going right now and can't wait till they are on calf feed.

Re: Milk Replacer Rookie

Posted: Sun Feb 07, 2016 12:39 pm
by Aaron
Simple answer - if your not there at the proper time for regular feedings, bottle calves are not for you.

Re: Milk Replacer Rookie

Posted: Sun Feb 07, 2016 11:34 pm
by Aaron9876
As i said before im just looking at my options...bottle calves are not necessarily what i will end up with. In fact ide much rather get weened calves ready for pasture in the spring. However they are more expensive up front, bottle calves would allow me to purchase more to start with and absorb the expenses over a few months of milk replacer and shots. And from what i can tell you can get a better profit on them mainly because people dont want to mess with it.

It seems the answer to my original questions is yes milk replacer can be premixed, but should be cooled soon after mixing then remixed and rewarmed before serving. If that is incorrect please someone let me know.

Re: Milk Replacer Rookie

Posted: Sun Feb 07, 2016 11:52 pm
by Craig Miller
That is correct. If it sits all day it will be souring by feeding time. You will be able to smell it and it will be slimy feeling. I've seen it like that from where the kids didn't wash the bucket very good. Also the weavers are more because they are for the most part past the age where they are most likely to die..it bottle age. When you buy bottle calves you get them cheap because they are the highest risk and require the most attention to keep alive.