Nature intended a calf to take small meals, little and often. Large meals flood the digestive system and can give rise to scours. A suckler calf on a cow will feed up to 7 times/day, for 7 minutes/feed.

In hot weather, a large bucket of cold milk placed outside the pen and connected to a teat bar unit will allow calves continuous access to milk, and calves grow well on the cold ad lib system (acidified milk works best) However, when ambient temperatures drop below 10C, it will be necessary to use a heating system to maintain adequate intakes.

The Heatwave system sits outside the pen, next to the ad lib cold milk reservoir. As the calf drinks, the cold milk is drawn through the Heatwave Milkwarmer and heated on demand, offering all the benefits Nature intended.

Benefits of group feeding

Calves kept in groups can exhibit natural behaviour, grooming, licking and socialising. Farm Assurance and Red Tractor schemes advise this. Research has shown calves grouped before weaning age will take larger quantities of dry feed (A. Bach 2012) as the group tends to feed together and calves learn habits from each other.

Satisfied calves are less prone to sucking each other.

Labour saving

It has been estimated it takes 27 man hours to rear 40 calves on Ad Lib versus 47 hours on a Once a Day system.  Ad-Lib is a Once A Day system available ALL day.


Calves grow faster and drink more milk but the cost per kg liveweight gained is similar to a once a day or twice/day system. The goal is a bigger, better calf at weaning, converting milk into frame when the feed conversion is at its most efficient.

Calf Health

Many milk powder formulas are ‘partially acidified’.* Acidified milk fed ad lib will help the milk to clot and improve digestion. Lowering the pH reduces the number of pathogens and reduces calf scour, improving health and vitality. Small meals promote a healthy digestion. Calves which are not challenged by hunger, consuming a very high energy diet, have a good immune system and are less likely to suffer calf-hood disease such as pneumonia, and have less setbacks.

Where whole milk is offered we recommend the addition of Wynngold MilkMate R to fortify and acidify the whole milk reservoir. This extends the shelf life by 24hrs.

*eg Wynngold Bloom Long Life and Wynngold Stellar

When ewe lambs give birth to twins ,removing one lamb allows the mother to keep growing and rear a single lamb. The second lamb can be reared on the Heatwave Milkwarmer system and this gives both lambs a better start. Triplets are frequently reared on this system. Growth rates often exceed those lambs fed on the ewe!

The Heatwave Milkwarmer system allows a large barrel of cold reconstituted milk powder, to be mixed up cold and fed on demand, via the milk warming system. Lambs drink an average of 1 litre/day on ad lib. With 4 teats, the Heatwave Milk warmer will feed up to 50 lambs. We recommend Wynngold Lamlac for ad lib feeding


Goat kids from milking herds will benefit from ad lib feeding .Follow the same guidelines as for lambs. Use a milk powder recommended for ad lib feeding eg Wynngold Lamlac