Pour Hydration to Heat-stressed Calves
When calves are born, their bodies are made up of about 80% water. As they grow, they need to consume about 10% of their bodyweight in water daily. Retaining a high level of water in their physiological make-up is critical, and cannot be done via milk or milk replacer feedings alone.
Penn State University researchers underscored the importance of water for calves in a recent publication. They said a 2019 study by Iowa State University researchers showed that the full water requirements of calves are typically not met because a sizable portion of calves are not offered free-choice water until about 17 days of age.
The researchers noted that offering supplemental drinking water starting at birth resulted in better growth performance and apparent total tract digestibility of nutrients. Offering water starting on day 1 of life also had improved rumen function, leading to improved growth and feed efficiency – an important consideration in today’s climate of high feed costs.
By MAUREEN HANSON
July 6, 2022