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How to mix calf milk replacer


Milk replacers ensure that calves receive essential elements such as antibodies, lactose, fatty acids, proteins, minerals, vitamins, and lipids that are required for health, growth and immunity. Whether you are using a whey or a skim based replacer there are some important protocols that we recommend to follow in order to give your calves a great start in life.

How to mix calf milk replacer

It is really important milk replacer is weighed and calibrated on a regular bases, the density of powder will vary depending on different bags. Some kitchen scales and a jug/scoop used for measuring milk replacer are essential items when feeding CMR. A target for each calf’s requirements is 900g of CMR per day.

For standard twice a day feeding we recommend that you mix 150g powder to make up 1 litre of milk (150g powder, 850ml warm water).

For advanced twice a day feeding, mix 180g powder to make up 1 litre of milk (180g powder, 820ml warm water).

For ad-lib feeding, mix 125g powder to make up 1 litre of milk (125g powder, 875ml warm water).

If you have a computerised feeding method, we recommend that you calibrate the machine to feed at a concentration of 150-180g to make up a litre of milk, depending on standard or advanced feeding.

Mixing calf milk replacer

How many litres of milk should I start feeding with?

Calves should be fed no more than 5% of their body weight in one feed for example a 40kg calf should be fed 2 litres per feed, for best results in the first week calves will be fed 3 times per day.

High growth rates in early life are achieved by feeding at least 900g of CMR per day, this needs to be split over multiple feeds per day. Once calves are able to drink 3 litres per day they have the ability to consume over 1kg of CMR per day in two feeds (feed at 180g/litre)

Calf milk replacer mixing measurements

Litres of milk required Litres of waterKg of powder
108.21.8
2016.43.6
3024.65.4
4032.87.2
50419
1008218
15012319.8

How to mix 10 litres of calf milk replacer

Here is our calf milk replacer mixing protocol which is based on mixing 10 litres of milk at 180 grams in a litre.

  1. Add 5 litres of hot (40 – 45 degrees) water to the bucket.
  2. Add 1.8kgs of milk powder to the water and mix.
  3. Add the remaining 3.2 litres of water.
  4. Feed the calf with the milk at 38-40 degrees.

How long should I feed calves milk replacer?

During the first week slowly start to introduce the milk replacer to the calves through feeding twice a day, once in the morning and again in the afternoon for up to a minimum of 7 weeks. For best results feed calf 3 times a day for the first week gradually reduce down to once a day feeding at eight weeks.

Wean once the calf is cudding and consuming at least 2kg of concentrates per day for at least 3 consecutive days also once the calf has doubled its birth weight.

A group of calves drinking CMR

The importance of mixing milk replacer correctly

It is important to feed the milk replacer at the correct temperature of 38-40 degrees. If you are manually mixing the calf replacer one way you can monitor the temperature is through using a thermometer. Right before feeding check the temperature because if it is too hot or too cold this can cause digestive issues and can lead to scours.

The benefit of getting the mixing of CMR right can lead to a healthy calf with increased DLWG.

Consistency is really important when mixing CMR, temperature, mixing rates, mixing time all help to create a consistent feed every day for the calf.

Can our Youngstock Specialists help you?

Weighing service

There are several ways our Youngstock Specialists can support you with increasing calf performance.

  • Setting on farm targets
  • Bespoke feeding plans
  • Colostrum protocols
  • Housing advice
  • Weighing service


To find out more about our VITA range, feeding protocols or Target 24 please speak to your local ForFarmers Account Manager or or send us an online enquiry:


Contact a Youngstock Specialist