FAQ – What is the best age to place a calf onto the calf autofeeder? 

By on February 10, 2023
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FAQ – What is the best age to place a calf onto the calf autofeeder? 

*Post contributed by Dr. Bob James and Jan Ziemerink

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! 

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