Rumen Development in Young Calves
by Brian Daly & Mark Flannery
Rumen development beings to occur withing the first few days after birth and is aided by the expose to bacteria and the consumption of solid feed. The introduction of a high quality highly palatable ration is massively important. Both of the before mentioned are equally important. You could have the highest quality calf ration but if it’s not palatable and not being consumed it’s no use and vice versa. So, what makes a high quality highly palatable calf ration? A fully toasted and flaked ration means less dust, more coarse and is more palatable for younger calves. The inclusion of toasted and flaked ingredients can also increase daily weight gain by up to 8%. The scratch factor is also hugely important to the development of the young rumen. It is reported that the inclusion of dry feed such as a coarse ration encourages the development of papillary in the rumen, these are the finger like structures on the rumen wall where nutrient absorption takes place so they are vitally important. A dusty calf ration is far from desirable and a way of avoiding this is the inclusion of molasses and also using pelleted minerals as a substituted for powdered form. At Liffey Mills we use caramel flavoured Molashine Molasses which coats each individual ingredient making it that bit more palatable and less dusty. The inclusion of our minerals in pellet form ensures calves are receiving adequate minerals and also means there isn’t that powder substance in the bottom of feed troughs. The weaning period is massively important for rumen development , this typically occurs between four and eight weeks old. When water and concentrate is consumed bacterial fermentation is initiated. Volatile Fatty Acids are then produced by these bacteria and are responsible for the rapid increase in the rumens development. All of the Liffey Mills range comes with full technical back up and advice.