Increasing fat levels in early life nutrition

Young dairy calves have a relatively low percentage of body fat and therefore require a diet with high amounts of energy early in life.

Calf milk replacer

To provide the higher levels of energy required for growth, the amount of calf milk replacer fed per day or the energy density of the CMR fed will have to be increased.

One option is to increase lactose levels, but this results in an increase of osmolality, which can be detrimental to the calf. LifeStart research has shown that calves fed according to LifeStart principles are better prepared to handle fat. Trials in which calves were fed an energised calf milk replacer (CMR) with increased amounts of fat have shown similar growth rates but better faecal scores and a lower incidence of diarrhoea for calves fed ECM compared to calves fed a traditional CMR.

Calf starter

Trials with an energised calf starter (ECS) containing extruded pellets with fat have resulted in additional weight gains.

LifeStart Themes

Most of the LifeStart science presented on this site is related to a particular stage of the life of a calf or dairy cow. There are however some general themes not related to a particular stage of life.

For a full understanding of LifeStart science, please review the information related to the following
4 themes:

Questions about Calf Rearing?



Metabolic programming

  Read more


Glucose metabolism

  Read more


Role of fat in calf nutrition

  Read more


Lactobalance, osmoregulation and hydration

  Read more

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