Wean at 8 OR 10 weeks under these circumstances?

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Brett Enright

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My dad (steveaust) has been advised by a dairy farmer to wean his angusXfreisan calves at 10 weeks. I seem to think that 8 weeks is enough, as the milk powder bag only goes up to 8 weeks anyway & 10 weeks sounds excessive.

My calves didn't have the best start, the drinking system was difficult for them. It has since been replaced. I'm wondering if spending an extra $60 or so on milk powder is really worth it - is it going to make much difference in the long run? They have 1 acre green grass (not good), eat some straw & malt combings but very little pellets because chooks are around in the day.

What do you guys do? Early weaning? Also, should I try ONCE DAILY FEEDING next time round? Pros/Cons of early weaning & once daily feeding?

Thankyou.
Brett Enright.
 

Running Arrow Bill

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Are your "to be weaned" calves dairy or beef breeds. If dairy...different rules applyl, talk to dairy people.

If beef, best to wean at 205 days more or less. Let mama nurse calf along with his/her grazing, hay, supplemental feed if needed. If you plan to wean a beef calf at 8-10 weeks you are asking for a lot of work, expense, and potential trouble.
 

dun

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Running Arrow Bill":p6stnflr said:
Are your "to be weaned" calves dairy or beef breeds. If dairy...different rules applyl, talk to dairy people.

If beef, best to wean at 205 days more or less. Let mama nurse calf along with his/her grazing, hay, supplemental feed if needed. If you plan to wean a beef calf at 8-10 weeks you are asking for a lot of work, expense, and potential trouble.

He's referring to "bottle" calves.

dun
 

Ann Bledsoe

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Brett Enright":19udblno said:
My dad (steveaust) has been advised by a dairy farmer to wean his angusXfreisan calves at 10 weeks. I seem to think that 8 weeks is enough, as the milk powder bag only goes up to 8 weeks anyway & 10 weeks sounds excessive.

My calves didn't have the best start, the drinking system was difficult for them. It has since been replaced. I'm wondering if spending an extra $60 or so on milk powder is really worth it - is it going to make much difference in the long run? They have 1 acre green grass (not good), eat some straw & malt combings but very little pellets because chooks are around in the day.

What do you guys do? Early weaning? Also, should I try ONCE DAILY FEEDING next time round? Pros/Cons of early weaning & once daily feeding?

Thankyou.
Brett Enright.

The calves can be safely weaned when consuming 2 lbs of Calf Starter daily. That point can range from 4-8 weeks of age depending on the calf. Most of my calves are weaned at 6-8 weeks, but I leave heifers that might be used for breeding on milk until they are 12 weeks old.

I have done both once and twice daily feedings, and have pretty much settled on feeding twice daily for the first 4 weeks, once daily after that.
Once daily milk feedings encourages the calf to consume more solid food.

Your calves will grow better if you limit the amount of fiber (grass hay/straw) and ensure that the grain ration is high protein. Their little digestive tracts can't hold much, what goes in has to be of high quality for them to grow properly.
Most Calf Starters are 18% protein and are recommended to be fed until 6 months of age, but most calves will do just as well after 3 months of age on 2% of their body weight of a 12% sweet feed with 1/2 lb of Calf Manna added daily, and just enough fiber (grass hay/straw) to keep the droppings firm. During real cold weather I also offer some high quality, leafy alfalfa.

Another thing that helps with bottlecalves is to give them probiotics, especially whenever anything in their diet changes. Probiotics will smooth the transition. Personally, I use FasTrack. (also helps newborns set up the proper gut flora and helps to ward off scours).

Good luck with your calves.

Ann B
 

3-B Farms

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I have raised about 100 bottle calves and i have found that in the winter months they seem to do better with twice a day feedings, free choice 18% calf starter, definately keep some sort of hydrating nutrients such as vi-tal in their free choice water, and the weirdest of all, put a raw egg in their bottle once daily. eggs are pure protein and it will ward off scours. in the case that i have one get scoured, i will give them a raw egg immediately and shoot down their throat 4cc water mixed with 4cc bleach.
 

certherfbeef

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Running Arrow Bill":3i1gftru said:
Are your "to be weaned" calves dairy or beef breeds. If dairy...different rules applyl, talk to dairy people.

Bill, you really should READ the original post rather than SKIM it.

Brett said

angusXfreisan
. translation= angusXholstein. BOTTLE BABIES!!!
You like to jump on everyone else for jumping to conclusions and giving advise to a beginner that it a little too in debth when you are the guilty party 90% of the time. :mad:
 

Running Arrow Bill

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My apologies to the posters!

I obviously displayed my ignorance about this category of calves.

Guess I never had that many hours in a day (or the interest) in raising babies by hand... And, obviously prefer and deal with Mother Nature in raising cattle and horses...let their mamas raise them until weaning.

Again, I should not reply to posts that I do not completely understand. Will try to watch myself in future.

;-) :)
 

certherfbeef

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Running Arrow Bill":2qhl8m6w said:
My apologies to the posters!

I obviously displayed my ignorance about this category of calves.

You sure did.

Running Arrow Bill":2qhl8m6w said:
Again, I should not reply to posts that I do not completely understand.

You are correct.


Thank you for the apologies Bill.
 
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Brett Enright

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thankyou for your responses. I just wondered whether feeding them for an extra 2 weeks (extra cost also) would be worth it, trying to catch up for possible previous lost growth, - will i gain in the long run or is that feed wasted.

To tell the truth, because I have chooks my calves are eating almost nil pellets because the chooks will eat them (NOT allowed :)). But next season they WILL have their own yard (calves) and all day access to the pellets, instead of night access only. Keeping this in mind (they get very little pelllets) is it better to wean late or at 8 weeks? They do eat straw & malt combings and unfortunately lots of green grass. Maybe they could be transferred to another property for their last week to see if they eat 1kg of pellets each a day?

Thanks,
Brett.
 

dcara

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Why does angusxholsten = bottle babies and what other crosses, if any = bottle babies. Why would anyone want to intentionaly create such a workload? Is this for a milk fed veal market or something?
 

redwhiteface

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dcara":2mci0pus said:
Why does angusxholsten = bottle babies and what other crosses, if any = bottle babies. Why would anyone want to intentionaly create such a workload? Is this for a milk fed veal market or something?

Near as I can tell dcara, dairy farmers are leaning toward using angus bulls on first calf holstien heifers because the holstein bulls tend toward big calves. Then since it is a dairy farm, you have bottle babies or sale barn babies. Which still makes bottle babies for the person that buys them.
 

dcara

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Soooo... then. The cows and hefers are bred often to keep them milking and the calves are sold so they don't impact milk production thus creating a 2nd line of income. Guess I never really thought about it before. Thanks.
 

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