Heifers On Pasture

Animal Reproductive Technologies





Weaning of calves that have been nursing a recipient cow for 6 to 7 months is a critical time in the calf’s life.  Management and nutrition of the weanling are essential for success.   Some of the major factors that will influence weaning follow:

A.            Stress, Calves will bawl and walk the fence at weaning.  Confine weaned calves to a small dust free pen where they cannot "walk the fence".  Dams can be left immediately adjacent to the calves for the first few days after weaning (appears to reduce bawling and fence walking) or they can be completely removed out of hearing range.  When calves stop bawling (2 to 4 days) and are eating and drinking well they can be released from confinement.  At this time separation from dams is required.


B.            Vaccinations, Ideally weaning should be delayed, if possible, until 2 or 3 weeks after a full set of vaccinations.  This will allow time for maximum resistance to disease.  Booster vaccinations can be administered at the time the calves are weaned or shortly thereafter.


C.            Feed, The feed should consist of a clean dust free high quality hay and a high energy grain mix that is nearly identical to the creep mix if a creep feeder was used. Start silage feeds slowly, only after the calves are using the feed bunk well (7 to 10 days).  Increase silage levels in 4 or 5 steps while reducing hay quantity.   Medications in the feed are seldom of any benefit for calves handled as outlined, except for specific problems such as coccidiosis.


The weaning ration should contain about 65% TDN and 14% protein.  In addition there should be a calcium to phosphorous ratio of 1.5:1  to  3:1.  Certain trace minerals are very important to immune function in young calves and should be supplemented if deficient or antagonized by excess molybdenum, sulfur or other mineral excesses.  These minerals are zinc, copper, iodine, selenium and iron.  The weaning ration must be very palatable in order to encourage calves to stay at the feed bunks and get full.  The goal should be to encourage bull calves to consume 2.5% of their body weight in dry matter (DM) and for heifers to consume 2% of their body weigh in DM.




Animal Reproductive Technologies


A pretty face

Copyright: 2017,
Animal Reproductive Technologies LLC

Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional

Valid CSS!