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Calf Care

Pre-weaned calves are raised in a Positive Pressure calf barn in group pens of four calves. They are mob fed milk replacer for 60 days. The barn has a full air exchange every 6-8 minutes and circulation fans assist in making sure the air is always fresh at bedding pack level.

The calf pens have a 8-10" base of limestone sand. We recommend to then have a mesh barrier over 8-10" of larger draining rock base for best drainage. 

  • Rate of gain 0-2 months: 1.9 to 2.2#/day.

  • Rate of gain 2-4 months: 2.5#/day (hfrs), 2.7#/d (bulls)

  • 0% weaning drag (when feeding 3x we had significant drag)

  • < 1% death loss (we've gone 3 yrs without a death)

  • 1% treatment rate.

We track rate gain, intakes, hip height and daily heath with detailed records and have interesting comparisons utilizing various calf raising methods. Contact us if you're interested in our observations!

Calf Raising Procedure

  • Newborns: 1 gallon true colostrum within 15 minutes of birth. Second feeding: 2 quarts of 1st colostrum. Transition milk for next 2-3 days. Then milk replacer.

  • Calves are dehorned using a paste within 2 days of birth.

  • Calves are backgrounded in individual pens for 10 days before moving into group pens of four. Mob fed twice daily.

  • Feed a 28:20 Milk Replacer (MR)

         3-10 days       3.0L MR    2x/day     Feed probiotic 

       11-17 days       3.4L MR    2x/day   

       18-50 days       4.3L MR    2x/day    All calves get free choice water &

       51-60 days       4.3L MR    1x/day    22% calf starter.


  • Weaned calves consume 10# grower/day and remain in the same group for 1-2 months before transferring to a bed-pack calf barn. At breeding age, they go to a free stall barn with outdoor exercise lots.
  • Since grouping calves, we've observed an increase in starter intake at an earlier age, less bedding usage, more efficient labor, & zero weaning drag.
Selz-Pralle Dairy calf housing
Selz-Pralle Dairy Calf Barn
Calf Barn 2018 00242.JPG
Calf Barn 2018 00044.JPG
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