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Feeding changes open opportunities

There’s a strong relationship between health and growth in a calf’s early life and that animal’s lifetime production. That means what happens to a calf in its first few hours and days is extremely critical, particularly concerning what it’s fed.

What, how much and when to feed calves is changing and opens new opportunities for producers to impact the long-term health, growth and productivity of their animals, said Michael Steele, a professor in the University of Guelph-Department of Animal Biosciences.

“You can mold the calf when it’s born,” he said. “We call this developmental plasticity, which is strong early in life and goes down as time goes on.”

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