Posted on 2016-02-20 15:14:00
We were struggling with Holstein bull calf health a while ago, as with a herd of 300 I had more than enough heifer calves to feed on milk powder, without the added hindrance of waste milk at varying temperatures for the Bulls. Therefore we grouped them separately and another member of staff fed them. Some thrived, but most did not. Disillusioned with what could be a useful by-product. I started looking for a method of warming my waste milk so I could feed them at a time convenient to me. Almost immediately I found the Heatwave system advertised and it seemed really simple but above all cost effective, and we bought one. So simple to plug in and go, and the calves took to it straight away. Within weeks, the bull calves which would have struggled to make £12 at market were suddenly getting £60-£95 at 5 weeks old. We were thrilled! During the first few weeks we also started calving our heifers to a beef Shorthorn bull. These calves just thrive on the system and look tremendous as they approach weaning age. Yes, the calves achieve intakes of around 10 litres per day, but by six weeks are all cudding and by 7 weeks can be weaned. We now own 4 Heatwaves (which I think we will add to), have learnt a lot along the way (as like everything with livestock, you have a learning curve), but I rear Bulls/beef on waste milk and heifers on milk powder, and I couldn’t imagine going back to my groups of 5 on a ‘milk bar’ type feeding system.
I’ve learnt a lot over the last 6 months, and I’m sure I’ll learn more, in fact I’m already coming up with ‘modifications’ to the system which I think would be useful, but I love its simplicity and low cost.
Amy Herridge, Derbyshire.