Sam Leadley, PhD, Attica Veterinary Associates, P.C., Attica, N.Y., discusses the amount of milk Holstein calves will drink, and some factors that influence it.

Leadley summarizes the information from a recent article in Calving Ease here:

• When milk intake is not restricted, expect calves to drink large amounts of milk.

• Expect large variations among calves in milk consumption.

• Expect significant changes in levels of milk intake from week-to-week.

• In environments with significant pathogen exposure, appetites tend to be depressed during infections.

• Expressed as a percentage of live weight, milk consumption tends to go down as dairy heifer calves with free-choice milk, water and calf starter grain get past about three to four weeks of age.