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Dr. Todd
Dr. Todd, Large Animal Vet
Category: Large Animal Veterinary
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Experience:  35 years of experience
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how young can baby calves be to be allowed to eat alfalfa hay

Resolved Question:

how young can baby calves be to be allowed to eat alfalfa hay from last years 2ne or 3rd cutting, and can they digest it properly, they want it so bad. And how young can bottle calves eating starter feed? How long do they need milk replacement?
Lost of questions I know. we had a dairy farm when I was a young girl in Oklahoma and now I'm 62 and desired to raise bottle calves but I want to do it right both for me and the babies. Thanks for all the information you can give me.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Large Animal Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Todd replied 8 years ago.



You can offer the calves hay at about 21 days of age. Digestion of solid feed can begin at that time. Second cutting hay will probably be better. You can offer starter feed at the same time, but begin with small amounts (2 to 3 cups). You should increase the starter feed very gradually so you don't cause a digesative upset.


Milk replacer should be feed for 3 to 4 months. You can stop feeding milk replacer when the calves are fully adapted to hay and grain.


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