Bottle calf

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42acres

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Lost a moma cow and have been bottle feeding her bull calf. What is the earliest i can wean him off milk replacer? Can i feed him too much sweet feed? Any suggestions on weaning and feeding.
 

jerry27150

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we used to wean our holstein calves at 6 weeks, but you can wean anytime they are eating 2 lbs of grain & drinking water. calves need a grain ration around 16% protein. yes you can feed too much sweet feed. usually 1-2% of body weight
 

grubbie

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My opinion is not to wean that early unless you absolutely have to. It is possible to wean that early, but I think the calf will do better and be healthier if you leave it on milk (replacer) for a while. It gets spendy, I know. But it raises a healthier animal. We have a yearling here that a neighbor weaned early (probably wasnt fed properly either), she is smaller than this years calves. Some may argue that early weaning isn't the problem, but knowing her sire and dam I am convinced it was a big part of it. Doesnt always happen, but I try to keep them on milk to around 12 weeks. I also keep some milk-based pellet feed in front of them. We use something called calf magic. I feed that until I wean the rest of the herd. We don't feed them any grain, the calf magic has what they need. For milk replacer we use a 20% milk fat, 20% protien replacer. The calf is usually drinking a gallon in the morning and a gallon in the evening by 2 to 3 weeks of age. This is what works for us.
 

Beckett

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I bottle feed the holstiens at least 8 weeks. The Brown Swiss a little longer. The Jersey i haven't been able to ween before 12 weeks. The just dont seem to take to the feed as fast. Milk replacer is all milk, no soy. From the first day i have calf starter put in front of them "rosties" and give them free choice until they are weened all the way. also have good water and hay in front of them for choice.
I make it a rule not to take them off MR for at least 8 weeks though.

Mine are all steers and free martins. I buy anything thats cheap, and this years is alot of them.
 

dun

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The problem with weaning at 6-8 weeks is that most people then forget to keep the grain going to them to make up for the lost nutrition of the milk.
Most heifers raised by darykem don;t have the problem of being potty/stunted/poor doers, they know enough to keep the level of nutrition and the quantity incraseing as the calves grow.
 

lmp570

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how much milk replacer should u be feeding at 2 months old? i have one 5 weeks and i am feeding him about 10 pints. should i bump it up a little? im also feeding him about 1/2 a cup of calf starter. good idea or bad?
 

Brennon36

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we're bottle feeding a calf right now. only feeding him about 10 or so pints a day. we are also keeping a little grain and hay in front of him although he doesnt touch the grain too much right now
 

novaman

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Never limit the amount of starter to a calf. Calves can not eat too much sweet feed. They don't have that kind of capacity. Give them all the grain (starter) they can eat from day 1 until awhile after they are weaned. The goal is to get them on grain as quickly as possible so the milk can be cut out earlier. As said you don't want to cut out milk to early but get the faster they pick up on grain consumption the better they will do once weaned. For those that provide hay for their calves, I highly recommend you reconsider. Calves have a very small rumen and hay simply fills them up too quickly. Grain is far more energy dense and thus much better at stimulating rumen development. Keep clean, fresh water available at all times.
 

hillsdown

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Adding to what Nova said, the key to successful feeding is getting the calf to peek at milk, they need a minimum of whether real milk or real all milk replacer of 20 20 20,, 12 pints which is 6 litres a day. You can break in two or 3 feedings, 3 is best but two is more convenient. Once they peek , should be around 5-6 weeks old, ensure that they are eating lot's and lot's of really good calf starter ration. Once they are eating and getting their protien and energy from other sources you can gradually cut back on milk.

I do not and will not ever ween before 2 months as the rumen is not fully developed and to have the best BF operation start cutting back at 2 months a pint a week and when they are on 2 pints or less a day for a week you can stop all together. It is also the least stressful way to ween a calf.

Once weened ensure that their feed is as good as they had access too or better while BF'ing and keep it going ,if you do not wish to supplement the little ones with grain and really good hay then you must feed longer, 5-6 months minimum, just like the cow would do.
 

hillsdown

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lmp570":22zkaj34 said:
how much milk replacer should u be feeding at 2 months old? i have one 5 weeks and i am feeding him about 10 pints. should i bump it up a little? im also feeding him about 1/2 a cup of calf starter. good idea or bad?

Bump both up to 12 pints and give them way more starter 1/2 cup is nothing. Like Nova said they will not over eat they do not have the capacity.
 

dun

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hillsdown":36t693lp said:
Adding to what Nova said, the key to successful feeding is getting the calf to peek at milk, they need a minimum of whether real milk or real all milk replacer of 20 20 20,, 12 pints which is 6 litres a day. You can break in two or 3 feedings, 3 is best but two is more convenient. Once they peek , should be around 5-6 weeks old, ensure that they are eating lot's and lot's of really good calf starter ration. Once they are eating and getting their protien and energy from other sources you can gradually cut back on milk.

I do not and will not ever ween before 2 months as the rumen is not fully developed and to have the best BF operation start cutting back at 2 months a pint a week and when they are on 2 pints or less a day for a week you can stop all together. It is also the least stressful way to ween a calf.

Once weened ensure that their feed is as good as they had access too or better while BF'ing and keep it going ,if you do not wish to supplement the little ones with grain and really good hay then you must feed longer, 5-6 months minimum, just like the cow would do.

Just wanted to emphasize
 

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