bottle calves

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Apr 7, 2004
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Is there an advantage to feeding milk replacer longer ? Do they put on more weight gain? How long do you normally feed yours for? When you do stop, do you cut out 1 feeding at a time or dilute the powder in each feeding to gradually have almost all water ,or do you stop all at once? Just curious as to how all of you wean your bottle babies? Wont they start eating more hay/grass and grain if they have less milk to drink? These calves I have are probably 7 & 9 weeks old . They are eating grain and hay just not alot!
Thanks for your opinions!
feeding replacer longer to us is more money , can't see where it would help. We feed ours til they are around 7-8 weeks.We start to feed them hay and grain when they are about a week old,by the time we wean they eat very good. We just take the bottle away most of the time they do pretty good like that. If they are hungry they will eat the grain and hay
It depends on what you have planned for the calves. If they're going to market, it's more cost effective to wean them as soon as they'll eat grain and hay. If you're raising replacements, and money is no object, you can up the milk replacer.

We've got two bottle calves that were on all the milk replacer ( at their peak, they could down 3 - 6 pint bottles at a sitting) they could eat twice or three times a day. The first heifer pretty much weaned herself at about 11 weeks. She won third place at the Fort Worth stock show. The other heifer we weaned slowly by cutting down the volume of milk, and getting her to eat grain out of a bucket when the bottle was finished. Either of the two are as good as any heifer we've got on a cow.
As long as you're feeding milk replacer, don't dilute it. Mix according to the bag instructions.

You can either stop cold turkey or cut back to one feeding a day for a few days. Just be sure to give the calves free choice hay along with something like calf manna as soon as you can. They need time to develop the proper bacteria in their rumen to digest those new foods. When you are certain they're eating the dry food well, you can wean them from the milk replacer.

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