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Blueprint for rearing dairy origin calves

Successful calf rearing is critical for profitable dairy beef production. Provision of adequate levels of nutrition and suitable housing are fundamental to ensuring that animal health and welfare are optimised. In addition, with the increase in the proportion of farmers gaining income from off-farm enterprises, increased labour efficiency will be an important factor in all livestock systems. Calf rearing is labour intensive with reports of up to three hours spent per day on calf care on dairy farms in the Republic of Ireland. This constraint on availability of time or labour could have implications for calf health and immunity, as less time is available for individual calf care. The objective of this report, produced jointly by AFBI and CAFRE, is to identify the optimum rearing system for dairy origin calves from purchase at one to two weeks of age through to 15 weeks of age.


  • Objectives and targets
  • Calf procurement
  • Nutritional regimes
  • Selection of a milk replacer
  • Milk feeding systems
  • Concentrate supplementation
  • Forage supplementation
  • Housing systems
  • Health issues
  • General management
The full report can be downloaded at the link below:
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