Grow better cows with our calf rearing principles

The Feed for Growth programme recognises that the first 3 months are a critical phase in determining a newborn calf’s adult performance.

In our calf rearing principles document, we highlight areas, which are important to achieve more efficient calf rearing. It covers five key areas; colostrum, hygiene, milk replacer, mixing rates calculator and weaning.


Key principles of calf rearing

  • Colostrum

To boost calf health and performance it is essential to feed the right amount of top quality colostrum at the right time. Our top tips are:

colostrum checklist

  • Hygiene

Improper hygiene increases the risk of disease and can be extremely costly.

Biofilms release bacteria and can contaminate the milk every time the equipment is used. Our calf rearing principles teach you how to ensure equipment is washed correctly which is essential to reduce calf exposure to biofilms.

  • Milk Replacer

A top quality milk replacer gives your calves the best start in life. Find out how to mix your milk correctly in order to get the most out of your investment.

mixing milk

  • Mixing Rates Calculator

Strategic feeding allows you to achieve specific growth targets which help eliminate waste and cost and thereby increase dairy profits.

Volac instant calf milk replacers can be fed at concentrations ranging from 10% to 20% dry matter, depending on the feeding system and growth rate required, but always mix at the chosen concentration consistently.

Our calf rearing principles provide a Mixing rates calculator to help you ensure you achieve your required growth rate.

  • Weaning

Correct weaning is essential to a calf’s future development.

Our calf rearing principles give you our top tips, checklist for weaning and other key information.

We advise weaning should be done gradually by reducing milk fed over a 7-14 day period.


The first three months of a calf’s life are crucial; they help determine its future health, growth and performance. Our calf rearing principles can help you to ensure this critical phase is not overlooked.

The full guide is available to download here, alongside a range of other resources covering everything from dealing with common health problems to feeding and housing your calves.

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