Deficiency Needs vs. Growth Needs

by Jo Gaul, ATR Thrive Calf Consultant

When raising future dairy heifers, or raising bull calves for beef from the dairy industry, theprimary goal is maximizing pre-weaning daily weight gains.

How we achieve this goal, contributes significantly to the success of any calf rearing program.

The Growth Needs of the pre-weaned infant are well researched and understood. The industry is stronger on this element (growth) than it on the Deficiency Needs, so this article might help balance out our understanding of both.

Meeting the needs of calves is always our goal

As calf rearers, we often fail to deliver expected outcomes, and enable the successful genetic expression of the calf at weaning and also at maturity.


Let’s take a closer look.

Understanding the principle of growth needs reveals 5 lower-level needs on this hierarchy. Maslow called these Deficiency Needs.

According to his discoveries if we fail to meet deficiency needs:

"You’ll experience harmful or unpleasant results. Conditions ranging from illness and starvation and unfulfilled potential."

In other words, our efforts to meet the growth needs of our young stock can become extremely complicated, labor intensive, expensive, and at times discouraging.

Understanding the five lower order needs provides us with helpful insight, necessary for strengthening calf rearing practices and maximizing pre-weaning growth potential.

What Are the Deficiency Needs?

1.      Oxygen  - Ventilation.  Uncontaminated atmosphere and airflow.

2.      Food -  Correct nutrition given at thecorrect time in the correct protions.

3.      Water -   Available supply of nontoxic,uncontaminated fresh water.

4.      Shelter  -  Providing warmth or shade as required.

5.      Safety  - Protection from predators, hazards, disease, stress, harmful practices,inappropriate treatment practices.

The Get-Go© products (Get-Go© FM, Get-Go© MR+ and Get-Go© REVIVE) are specifically designed to enhance the Growth Needs of pre-weaned infants.

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