Feeding heifer calves four times a day instead of two or three times improved their growth.
All calves in the Purdue University experiment were fed the same amount of whole milk, plus they had free-choice access to starter. They received 4 qts of milk per day for the first 14 days, 7 qts/day from days 15 to 21 and 8 qts/day from day 22 to a week before weaning, when they were reduced to 4 qts/day.
On average, calves fed four times a day weighed 210 lbs at week 10 compared with 205 and 201 lbs for calves on three and two daily feedings, respectively. Four-times-a-day calves also were taller at the hip and withers and had greater heart-girth circumferences than twice-a-day calves.
Weaning at nine vs. seven weeks was evaluated as part of the same study. Calves weaned at nine weeks ended up averaging 209 lbs, 7 lbs heavier than those weaned earlier.
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