Gains on thin calves

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Well-known member
Dec 14, 2019
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McGregor, Tx
Since the market is so wild right now, I'm looking for those rough diamonds. My question is though, if a calf has a bad start and is thin at weaning, is it possible for them to truly gain muscling (assuming the genetics are there and it was strictly a lack of nutrition issue), or will they always be less muscled and only put on fat cover?
Strictly a lack of nutrition is a Big IF, respiratory and other health issues often go hand in hand with a bad start.
Of course it can be overcome, Charles Atlas made a career out of turning 98 lb weaklings into he men. :)

Today someone could make a killing turning 100 lb tubbies into athletes with abs, but would need to advertise on cell phones
and tic tok, not in comic books or nonexistent newspapers.
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I'd say thin calves with frame will be fine. A dink is a dink though. I've got 3 that are a year old and might go 500#. Should have culled them months ago but they not hurting anything so not really worth the trouble.
Lots of difference between thin at weaning for a 5 month old calf vs a 7 month old. A lot of times the younger calves just need time to mature. IMO, some calves do a lot better after weaning if coming from a poor or older cow. They seem to hit a wall at about 300 lbs and the rate of gain falls to almost nothing. My guess is that mom has enough milk for a 300 lb calf but thats it. If they have nothing else to eat the frame keeps growing but the weight and muscle do not. I have no proof but just a observation but it seems to be beneficial to early wean from one and dones or old culls if you have some decent forage. Once they are off Mama, something triggers them to graze harder. They harden up and mature. They go from a #1 1/2 calf to a # 1. So yes there are opportunities.
We have had good success buying thin calves 3-6 weeks before greenup. Also bull calves and horned calves hav usually worked well for us as well

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