LifeStart – Helping you meet your herd’s potential

12 February 2019

Lifestart is not a company nor a product; it is an innovative and easy to implement calf-feeding program based on high quality research.

The LifeStart Program can improve farm profitability by helping calves to develop faster and grow to become healthy, productive cows.

What exactly is LifeStart?

The scientific principle termed LifeStart, is that a high quality of calf nutrition in the first 60-days of life will permanently improve health and production, and this has been demonstrated in many studies worldwide. 

LifeStart really starts with the first feed – colostrum. Colostrum has a high energy and protein content, and contains active immune cells, numerous immune stimulators and antibodies therefore, it is key that a calf receives 4 litres of clean, good quality colostrum as soon as possible after birth. Following on from colostrum, offering calves an enhanced amount of a high quality milk replacer in the first eight to ten weeks of life is the key to the LifeStart Program. This, combined with sound management techniques, establishes a solid foundation for improved lifetime performance.

How does LifeStart work?

The LifeStart Program works because of a natural phenomenon called Metabolic Programming that recent science has proven to exist in both humans and animals. Metabolic Programming determines that the potential of an adult in later life is pre-programmed during the vital first weeks. There is only one chance for a good start - those first weeks of a calf’s life represent a huge opportunity to improve the long-term performance of a dairy herd.

When feeding these higher/optimal levels, a dairy calf can:

  • Grow and develop quicker
  • Have better health and vitality
  • Increase its production potential as a cow
  • Be more hardy or resilient, increasing the potential lifespan in the herd

The LifeStart Program helps you take advantage of this opportunity with successful calf rearing based on good health, quality nutrition and strong growth.

Making LifeStart work on-farm

Intensive milk feeding with high quality milk replacer is the key to unlocking improvements in performance. This means offering calves a higher amount of a good-quality calf milk replacer for the first eight to ten weeks. To do this, offer calves at least 6 litres of calf milk replacer mixed at 150 g/litre.

It is important to use a good quality, highly digestible calf milk replacer when feeding a higher plane of nutrition. If a poorer quality calf milk replacer is fed at higher levels, certain nutrients like lactose can be oversupplied and cause a nutritional scour. Calf milk replacers that have been formulated to the high LifeStart scientific standards and are proven suitable for feeding at higher levels, have the LifeStart logo.

In addition, to stimulate rumen development, always offer calves good quality straw, fresh concentrates and fresh water at all times. To minimize any growth dips at the time of weaning, an initial step-down in calf milk replacer followed by a gradual reduction, has been shown to stimulate concentrate intakes.

Your LifeStart opportunity

Combined with the LifeStart Program, a LifeStart approved milk replacer helps to rear calves that grow into healthy and productive cows. Look for the LifeStart logo on bags of calf milk replacer to guarantee LifeStart research and knowledge is a part of your calf rearing program.

For more information: or ask your Trouw nutritionist for advice.