A new milk-feeding system for calf pens which matches newborn calves with new teats, has been introduced into the UK by Dairy Spares.

The Milk Bar Vitality System uses coloured teat-clips and matching colours of pen tags to make it easy for calf rearers to identify which teats should be used for which calves.

Each newborn calf is started on a new teat, and then continues with the same teat until it is weaned. This practice, known as ‘follow the teat’, ensures a young calf has to suckle hard for the milk, and cannot guzzle and develop scours. As the calf gets older, the teat gets older and more supple, enabling more milk to be drunk more quickly.

For example, in block-calving herds, the pens of all calves born in the first week of the block can be marked with a yellow tag and all new teats then fitted with a yellow teat-clip. Calves born in the second week can have a pink tag on their pens, and their new teats fitted with a pink teat-clip, so it is easy to match the age of calf with the age of teat.

The system also includes a uniquely designed long oblong 4-litre bottle which slides down into a chute attached to the outside of the calf’s pen. The design of the chute and teat-clip ensure that the bottle self-aligns so the slit in the teat is correctly positioned for the calf to suckle.

Calf rearers using the system have commented on how easy it is to identify the right age of teat for the age of calf, and how quickly the bottles slide down into the chutes.

A Milk Bar Vitality System 5-calf kit containing the 4-litre bottles and chutes, and the coloured tags and teat-clips, retails at £175 +VAT, which equates to £35/feeding unit.

A video explaining more about the Vitality System can be found on Dairy Spares’ website: www.dairyspares.co.uk

Photocaption: Using the coloured pen tags and matching teat clips in the Vitality System, the age and suppleness of the teat is appropriate to the calf’s age and suckling ability.