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Drying off fall calvers

angus9259

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In March is when I typically wean. I'll pull the calves and put the mommas on first cut grass hay - they are on 2nd and 3rd cut soft hay now. The calves are getting creep fed oats as well to help them get through the winter.

I'm wondering about my order . . . .

March 1 do I put the cows on the first cut hay WHILE they are still nursing to get them dried up and give the calves the 3rd cut hay in a different field behind their creep gate and then wean a couple weeks later or do I keep giving the cows the good hay right up until I wean.

I'm going to try and attach an analysis of the 1st cut hay.


 

farmerjan

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Switch the cows to the coarser less protein hay about 1-2 weeks before you pull the calves, give the calves the good hay in the field behind the creep gate. Get them to where they would rather eat over there than with momma. She will start to slow down a little and the calves will eat more rather than still get quite so much milk, but at that point they ought to be slowing down a little before you pull the calves. When do you sell and how early in the fall do you calve? If you calve in Sept then the calves are about 6+ months at weaning? How big a milkers are your cows? If you are concerned about them drying up with no problems, then switch hay a little sooner. If the calves are eating good, then switching the cows a couple weeks before weaning won't hurt the calves.
 

farmerjan

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Most dairymen that I milk test for switch to an all coarse hay diet, cut out any silage/grain, and cut back to once a day milking for their heavy milkers for at least a week. At no time do any of them here take away the water. And they will often skip a milking, then milk the cow out and dry treat her. But the key is an all rough hay diet where they are not getting any feed that is "making milk". So with a beef cow, feeding her a lower "quality" hay would be the first step. Unless the cows are real big milkers, they should dry up pretty easily after the first 24 hours of hollering for their babies.
 

Waterway65

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Taking water away was a recommended practice in the 90s when we had a dairy along with the feed change. Lots of fresh water is key to milk production and a shortage of it has a big effect if only for a short period.
 

angus9259

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Well, something seems off about withholding water which the rest of the body needs to function as well....

Vet was out preg checking today. He supports the idea of turning to first cut hay a couple weeks before weaning as long as the calves are getting nutrients (oats) elsewhere. He said the only thing you have to watch for is if the cows are not bred they might stop ovulating but, once they ARE bred 45-60 days then they will put their energy into keeping the pregnancy and just stop milking.
 

Margonme

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angus9259":45xjuvqo said:
Well, something seems off about withholding water which the rest of the body needs to function as well....

Vet was out preg checking today. He supports the idea of turning to first cut hay a couple weeks before weaning as long as the calves are getting nutrients (oats) elsewhere. He said the only thing you have to watch for is if the cows are not bred they might stop ovulating but, once they ARE bred 45-60 days then they will put their energy into keeping the pregnancy and just stop milking.

Is the first cut hay (I could not see the attachment), of such low quality that the vet thinks it will not support ovulation? That is interesting because I get comments that I am treading on dangerous ground because I have a couple cows that easily have a body condition score of 8. The comment: They will stop ovulating because of the excess body condition. Your vet's comment suggest ovulation is a problem on both extremes. I suspect that to be true. What is your thought?
 

talltimber

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Drying off fall calvers must be a big milker/outstanding feed thing. I've never heard anyone mention it being a concern here. I get the calves going on a little feed/hay/water trough in the weaning pen a few weeks then just shut the gate. If I've had trouble with the cows I didn't know it.

MnM, I have some big condition cows too, always breed back.
 

angus9259

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I think thin cows that are nursing are a bigger problem to get to ovulate than fatter cows but I don't know. The bigger problem I think is the combination of thin and milking.

In the past I've always just shut the gate too. It's not a big deal either way. But if I have cheaper feed than can aid the process, I might as well think through it. Just because something has worked in the past doesn't mean it can't work better in the future.
 

JSCATTLE

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Margonme":dxaf3ual said:
angus9259":dxaf3ual said:
Well, something seems off about withholding water which the rest of the body needs to function as well....

Vet was out preg checking today. He supports the idea of turning to first cut hay a couple weeks before weaning as long as the calves are getting nutrients (oats) elsewhere. He said the only thing you have to watch for is if the cows are not bred they might stop ovulating but, once they ARE bred 45-60 days then they will put their energy into keeping the pregnancy and just stop milking.

Is the first cut hay (I could not see the attachment), of such low quality that the vet thinks it will not support ovulation? That is interesting because I get comments that I am treading on dangerous ground because I have a couple cows that easily have a body condition score of 8. The comment: They will stop ovulating because of the excess body condition. Your vet's comment suggest ovulation is a problem on both extremes. I suspect that to be true. What is your thought?
The part about them stopping ovulation seems off to me .. when I pen and work my calves . Usually at 2 to 3 months old I hold them off the cows for 24 hours .. I've noticed when I do that I see several start bulling within 12 hours.
 

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