A successful calf rearing programme improves health status, reduces pre-weaning mortality and ensures a dairy heifer delivers its first calf before it reaches two years of age. A serious episode of, for example, scours may kill the calf, but even if it survives, the chances it will meet expectations with regard to future milk production are slim. Growth rates during the first 60 days of life determine the future production potential of a dairy cow. A slow growth during these first 60 days of life cannot be compensated by speeding up the growth later in life. A successful calf rearing programme is therefore essential for a profitable dairy farming operation.