Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Hints for Working with Milk Replacer for Calves
Just a few helpful ideals that help make working with milk replacer for calves easier.
Tip: Cut the top of the milk replacer bag open with scissors or a utility knife.
Although a sack a milk replacer looks like any other feed sack, it’s not. The plastic liner inside the sack can make it much harder to open, just pulling the tab string like most feed sack doesn’t get the job done, you still have to get in the plastic liner. Cutting the top off about two inches down cuts threw the outside and the plastic at the same time while making opening the sack much easier.
Tip: Mixing the replacer straight in the bottle.
I know many manufactures of milk replacers suggest in their mixing directions to place the water in a pot, put in the replacer, and then heat to lukewarm while mixing with a whisk to get all the clumps out or to place warm water in a bowl and then whisk in the replacer. But mixing straight in the bottle can save a lot of time, just fill the bottle with warm water about 1/3 full, put in the milk replacer, shake the bottle holding your hand over the top opening, and then fill the rest of the bottle with warm water. I know there will still be a few clumps that didn’t mix in well, but still 95% of the milk replacer will.
Tip: Using a wagon to carry bottles and feed.
This is very usefully if you have many calves to feed, placing the bottles of milk replacer in a wagon with buckets of feed can save you extra trips. It is hard to carry three or more milk bottle with your arms, but pulling them in a wagon makes the job much easier.
Tip: Freezing unused milk replacer.
If you have unused milk replacer, you can place it in the freezer it can stay good for over a year. This can be useful for colostrum packets as well, if your cattle ranching you may never know when you might need a package of colostrum replacement, keep a packet in the freezer, it will stay good until you need it.
Tip: In cold weather place the milk bottles in a bucket of hot water.
Now this tip came from a website member form Wyoming, I have never tried this myself. South Texas never gets cold enough to use this tip, but it made a lot of sense to me. The trip out to the feed pen can take some time to get feed ready and placing the bottles in hot water can kept them warm.
Tip: Placing the bottle nipples in direct sunlight in between feedings.
This tip came from a member in Georgia. Basically it’s use the principle that sunlight is the best disinfectant. You have to place the nipple upside down where the inside can get the sunlight to help kill the germs. There is all kinds of disinfectant soaps that do a good job, but placing them in sunlight when available is not a bad ideal.