How long should a bottle fed calf be on milk replacer for?

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Bar E

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Calf was born in early February and been on milk replacer ever since. Today she started drinking water out of a pail. She's on hay and calf starter ration. TIA.
-E
 

turklilley

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I keep them on it for 6 weeks at least. I know some wean earlier, and I don't like the cost, but they do better on milk replacer. If it's eating feed now, wean it.
 

Kjfred

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When they're eating 2-3% of bodyweight per day of starter reliably I start weaning. I always read it takes 21 days for the rumen to develop after they get the first grain in em. Usually 7 to 8 weeks at weaning for dairy steers, or 1 bag of replacer per calf.
 

farmerjan

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Kjfred":23ky154v said:
When they're eating 2-3% of bodyweight per day of starter reliably I start weaning. I always read it takes 21 days for the rumen to develop after they get the first grain in em. Usually 7 to 8 weeks at weaning for dairy steers, or 1 bag of replacer per calf.

X 2 . Most dairy farmers will figure 6-10 weeks, or about 1 bag replacer per animal. It is very true that it depends on how much they are eating. I will keep them on milk for about 12 weeks and they have to be eating good before I will wean them. I also go to once a day for about 2 weeks then stop. But I try to mostly raise calves on a nurse cow and they will stay on as long as normal beef calves 6+ months. They really grow better that way, and it is alot less expensive than feeding alot of grain.
 

TCRanch

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Or . . . . never? Just kidding. This was a rejected twin I bottle fed for 6 months, just as long as all the other calves were getting milk from their mamas. Bottle, including calf starter, hay, etc. Don't judge, she will always be my bottle baby and still gets an occasional "treat". In one end and out another :) That said, I've had orphaned calves at 6 weeks that refused to take a bottle, bucket, bowl, etc and they turned out fine as long as they're eating starter feed or cubes. Really, it boils down to whatever works for your situation.
 

TexasBred

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Rule of thumb has always been one 50 lb. bag of milk replacer. At the end of this time calf should also be eating 2---2.5 lbs. per day of a good calf starter as well. Make water available at all times that calf is on the bottle as well.
 
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Bar E

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Ok, baby has been fed once today and I'll give her another feeding tonight. Been doing 3 feedings a day so I'll cut it back to 2 a day for two weeks now.
 

dun

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TexasBred":2z2p43bd said:
Rule of thumb has always been one 50 lb. bag of milk replacer. At the end of this time calf should also be eating 2---2.5 lbs. per day of a good calf starter as well. Make water available at all times that calf is on the bottle as well.
Yup, that is pretty much the standard practice. The only thing that owuld delay it is them not eating enough starter.
 

farmerjan

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If you have had her on 3x a day, then cutting back to 2x a day will help her to want to eat more feed. If she is eating feed good after 2x a day for 2 weeks, cut back to once a day for a week or 2 and then stop. Make sure she is drinking plenty of water too. Use a bucket that you can monitor rather than a water trough til you are sure she knows what the water is for. Sometimes they will get thickheaded about not drinking the water at first. Think you are doing fine with her.
 

Double R Ranch

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We go with the one 50# bag of milk replacer and must be on feed.
Generally thats 8 weeks at weaning for us.
Towards the end we cut back on milk which encourages more roughage consumption.
 

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