It is crucial for a calf to maintain its water balance

A dehydrated calf will not have the desired average daily growth required for LifeStart performance.


whole milk has an osmolality of about 330 mOsm/L. Many calf milk replacers have an osmolality which is much higher. As a result of feeding such a calf milk replacer, water may move into the GI tract, leading to a reduction of faeces consistency and an increased risk to develop diarrhoea.

Dehydration as a result of diarrhoea

Dehydration in calves often results from diarrhoea, which is usually accompanied by sodium depletion. This requires a different approach compared to dehydration due to transport. LifeStart trials have provided the information to correctly formulate hydration products for calves suffering from diarrhoea in order to meet the following three criteria:

  • Low osmolality
  • Correct amount and ratio between sodium and sugars to ensure efficient water transport
  • Correct Strong Ion Difference (SID)

Dehydration as a result of transport

If transport, heat stress or water deprivation cause dehydration, potassium is mostly depleted. Products formulated for dealing with these problems should have the correct balance between potassium and sodium.

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

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Glucose metabolism

  Read more


Role of fat in calf nutrition

  Read more


Lactobalance, osmoregulation and hydration

  Read more

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