The biggest mistake I have found in regards to bottle feeding calve milk replacer is failure to feed calf starter. I have bottle fed hundreds of calf through the years of dairy farming and cattle ranching. My love of cattle has always provided me with little calves to bottle fed.
People have always asked what was the one must do when bottle feeding calves. The answer is simple- feed calf starter grain right from the start. There are special formulated grain feeds for new born calves. The stomach of newborn calves are different than those of older calves.
Calves under two months of age should be fed this special feed called: calf starter. It is just a different blend of grains that are completely digestible by newborn and young calves. Not everyone understands the importance of feeding the correct fed for this age.
My local feed store will not stock calf starter. I have to call in my order and wait until they get in from the mill. Which I find this really odd since they have no problem stocking milk replacer for bottle feeding baby calves.
I questioned if they knew that milk calf replacer is formulated to be fed with calf starter and that calf starter feed should start at two days old. They assure me that they did, but noone else purchases calf starter.
There are other feeds that can be used in place of calf starter such as 12% all stock. Any feed that can be using for horse and mule all work in place of calf starter in a pinch, but only true calf starter is formulated for the use with bottle feeding calves milk replacers.
The complete vitamin and minerals that a new calf needs is split up between the milk replacer and calf starter. By only feeding horse and mule feeding the calf is getting only half of what it needs. The best health condition for the calf is supplied when feeding calf starter along with milk replacer.