Autofeeder operation FAQ

By on May 3, 2021
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What is the best age to place a calf onto the calf autofeeder?

When the farm has an excellent program for maternity, newborn care and colostrum management the earlier the better!   The most important consideration is to place the calf on the autofeeder when it has a vigorous appetite.   These calves adapt well to this transition and are easy to train.  Provide their morning meal and introduce them to the group in the early afternoon and bring them to the nipple.   Be careful not to do this too often as this will teach them that a person needs to be present. We find that these calve quickly learn that they can eat more frequently than twice a day!  A good goal is to train them to the feeder within the first 3 – 5 days of life!

If calves are not aggressive eaters or have a bout of scours it’s advisable to wait, but strive to introduce them to the feeder by 10 – 14 days.  A policy of waiting for two weeks to introduce them to the feeder results in calves “learning” to expect milk twice a day and it may take several days or a week for them to learn that they can drink more frequently!

Detergent or acid. What kind and how much to use.

The older machines only use a detergent for cleaning the system. It is important to use a detergent formulated for use at lower temperatures which are similar to the feeding temperature (~105F or 40C). Those used for cleaning the milking system are not recommended. Read the label on the detergent. Newer equipment is designed for an acid rinse.  Again, use what is recommended by the dealer.

Calf feeder shows a clean drain warning only during cleaning.

  • The issue could be that the drain or training pump is not working or there is a blown fuse.
  • The drain line may be blocked or partially blocked or the line has been extended with a smaller diameter hose which restricts flow.
  • The drain valve is leaking or not working. Check this via diagnosis and assure that no milk drains when the calf is being fed.
  • The solution to this warning is to clean the valve and change all rubbers in valve (should be replaced every 6 months) or replace the valve if it is not working at all. These parts can be obtained from your Delaval, GEA or Lely dealer.

How can I check calves quickly on handheld?

Press button # 5. Calves with the most alarms will be on top of the list. Press button #4 and you can search the handheld to locate any calf you want.

The green light is blinking on the handheld. How can I find the warnings?

Press the “C” button and the warning will be displayed. Press the right arrow button to make sure there are not any more warnings. When you are not sure what the warnings mean refer to the manual or take a picture of the warning and send to the technician.

There is a calibration warning on the screen. What action should I take?

If you see a calibration warning on the handheld screen, press the “enter Key” and it will identify the which component needs to be calibrated. Make sure there are not any other calibration warnings. If warnings continue to be shown, check the milk powder (MP) outlet and make sure the fly screen does not touch the hose. (If the hose touches the fly screen (the door) it will cause errors in weighing the powder as it is added. Go to diagnosis and recalibrate the scale using instructions in the manual. If this does not solve the problem contact the technician.