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Extension > Agriculture > Dairy Extension > Calves and heifers > Improving feed delivery for dairy heifers over 6 months of age

Improving feed delivery for dairy heifers over 6 months of age

Neil Broadwater, Extension Educator-Dairy
August 27, 2011


A TMR helps minimize feed sorting and feed bunk competition. Enough bunk space should be provided for all heifers to eat at once.

Raising dairy replacement heifers to reach the desired body size and condition at calving can be challenging. Heifers should have well-developed mammary glands capable of producing to the animal's genetic potential. Nutritionally, the goal is to feed heifers economically for maximum production potential without compromising health or welfare. One very important factor in reaching this nutritional goal is the 'feed delivery method.' Following are some research notes that may help your heifer raising operation:

In conclusion, pay attention to efficiencies of your feed delivery system for dairy heifers, reduce competition at the bunk, and provide a well balanced ration using a TMR. These will help reduce feed costs, promote more consistent nutrient intake, create less variation in growth rates, and result in efficient gains to meet targeted growth and performance goals.

Minimum bunk space requirements for dairy heifers.

Type

 

Age (months)

3-4

5-8

9-12

13-15

16-24

inches per animal

Feeds always available

 

Hay or silage

4

4

5

6

6

Mixed ration or grain

12

12

15

18

18

All animals eat at once

 

Hay, silage, or ration

12

18

22

26

26

Source: MWPS-7th Edition, 2000

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