Vigertone Trial

Results of an independent USA Calf Trial, September – October 2008



  • In this trial, 48 calves were housed in a barn. There were 5 pens of 5 calves each, and 23 calves in individual pens
  • Each group of calves received 1400 grams of milk replacer mixed with 9.5 litres of water fed from a Milk Bar Feeder.
  • Each individual penned calf received 280 grams of milk replacer mixed with 1.9 litres of water, and was fed from a bucket
  • The milk replacer was 22% protein and 20% fat. Free choice water and 18% protein starter ration was available to all calves.

Milk Bar Teat Research

Independent Research Trial results show superior digestion of milk and no cross suckling by group fed calves fed on Milk Bar Teats!

For 20 years, Milk Bar customers have told us that calves are healthier when they use Milk Bar Teats, We wanted to know exactly why
Milk Bar calves have less nutritional scours and much less cross suckling, so a research facility was commissioned to conduct in-depth
investigation on the digestive system of young calves.
The brief was to feed six groups of calves from the same farm, the same rations and in the same facility. Three groups were to be fed with Milk Bar Teats, while the other three groups were to be fed on a “fast teat with an internal valve” the feeds at a similar speed to teats that are commercially available both in New Zealand, North America and Europe.
One important question we wanted answered was, “Why are calves that are group reared on a “fast teat with an internal valve” more likely to get mastitis first calving heifers”? We knew it was happening through our own trials and observations from farmer, and we were very concerned at the impact this has on the future production capabilities of that heifer when she comes into the herd.

Cross Suckling and Udder Damage

Trials show that Cross Suckling occurs when group fed calves are fed quickly

Calves in the “fast teat with internal vale” groups cross suckled vigorously post feeding and tended to have red swollen teats. Of great concern was that the teat canal was open, and the keratin plug appeared to have been sucked out. Calves fed on Milk Bar Teats did not cross suckle and were settled post feeding.


  • Calf udder from ‘Milk Bar Teat’ group


    Calf udder and teat in perfect condition with keratin plug in place. This calf has the best chance of avoiding infection.

  • Calf udder from ‘Fast Teat with an Internal Valve’ group


    Calf udder showing cross suckling damage to two teats. The teat has an open canal and missing keratin plug. This calf is very susceptible to infection.

In 1942 Shalm wrote “Calves suckling on each other can affect the development of the juvenile udder. This in conjunction with the transmission of mastitis pathogens is prone to lead to heifer mastitis”.