We are assuming that you are not raising veal calves for the white meat market. For bull calves to be raised for dairy beef, feed them milk replacer (22 percent protein and 10 to 20 percent fat) at the rate of 1 pound to 1 1/4 pounds of powder (makes a gallon of liquid) per day in two feeds (2 quarts each meal). Offer an 18 percent protein tagged calf starter immediately, preferably containing a coccidiostat (Decox, Rumensin, Bovatec). Begin with about a handful for starter. Keep the starter fresh and replace if necessary. Increase as needed to maintain full feed. When the bull calves are eating 1 1/2 pounds per day, wean the bull calves off the milk replacer (calf starter will be cheaper). Provide water free choice also to encourage calf starter intake at one week of age, and keep the feed and water fresh (change or consume daily). Feed calf starter up to 5 to 6 pounds per day and free choice hay (if you want to feed hay or forage). Preferably do not feed forage, and offer a calf starter ad lib or free choice up to 250 pounds. The type of starter can be completely texturized, a complete pellet, or a mix of whole corn and pellets. Feeding hay will reduce your costs but also rate of gain, and you should take advantage of the efficient growth characteristics of the calves by full feeding a high concentrate ration.
Mike Hutjens, Extension Dairy Specialist, University of Illinois – Illini DairyNET
Hugh Chester-Jones, University of Minnesota Dairy/Beef Specialist