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Longcreekfarms
Senior Contributor

How do you wean calves?

Looking for ideas here. I'm old school I guess and get everything in, de-lice the cows and bulls and kick em out. Vacc the calves and double check for bulls. Calves have been on creep for two months and continue them on same feed, gradually moving more into silage until its a full silage and free choice alfalfa diet. Keep them up close for a few weeks behind heavy fence and eventually put them on winter pasture where it's about 7 calves per acre. 1st week or so is always loud and a few sick ones, usually spook and try to run over some fence in the middle of the night.
Have read the fence line weaning and another method of pulling 10% of cows out everyday and leaving calves in a field they are used to. I suppose the remaining cows would serve as a wet nurse until just the calves remain in field.
What are your tips and tricks? Methods of reducing stress? Thanks.
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7 Replies
KSKid501
Veteran Contributor

Re: How do you wean calves?

Just gonna leave this here for ya...

http://www.ruralmessenger.com/69085/a-new-way-to-wean-calves.html

 

No personal experience with it (yet), but it sounds promising and seems to make sense...

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Longcreekfarms
Senior Contributor

Re: How do you wean calves?

Another trip through the chute, but it's an idea. Thank ya mister!
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r3020
Senior Advisor

Re: How do you wean calves?

Look in the Old Farmers Almanac. Wean when the sign is below the knees and moving down. Much quieter and less stress.

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Husker-J
Senior Contributor

Re: How do you wean calves?

Maybe 15 years ago, we went from vaccinating the calves at weaning, to vaccinating them before weaning (at least 2 weeks).   That has cut our tretment for sick calves down from 4-5+ a year, to one or maybe two.  

Maybe 10 years ago, we also started to wait for weaning, until after there were a couple inches of frost in the ground before separating them from the cows, and now only have to catch a calf once every couple years, to give it a shot.

 

Not that it will work for everyone, but what works for me:

Vaccinate calves, wait for frost in ground (theory is the frost makes many/most germs/viruses dormant).

Shut about 1/3 of the calves, wait untilt they eat (3-4 days) then shut another 1/3, wait again, and shut the rest.   This is easy for me to do with only one 'roundup' as the cows have to come into a corral to drink, so I just shut the gate when a bunch are there, separate the calves, and let the cows out.   The only need for an actual roundup, is if I have to catch the last few stragglers that won't come in.

If I see drioopy ears or runny noses, I give them CTC crumbles for 3 days.  The cows have access to the other side of the fence, that the calves are shut inside of.

I think it's been 3 years since I had to give a calf an antibiotoc shot.

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Longcreekfarms
Senior Contributor

Re: How do you wean calves?

That is similar to what I'm doing husker. I get everything in and then run calves through the chute 2 weeks later instead of before. Always early to mid December.
They are spread out in two bunches of about 100 mamas in each bunch. The capturing point is in the middle. Not nearly as easy to pen them though but they mostly do follow the mixer cart full of silage.
My grandfather used to wean by the sign. I think we doctored every dam one of em! Had to rain or snow every time he said the sign was right. Haha
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r3020
Senior Advisor

Re: How do you wean calves?

You are very correct. What works for one may not work for another.

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addicted to farming
Veteran Reader

Re: How do you wean calves?

I get the calves in the first of Sept. and run them thru and give them a nasal and a 7-way shot,  we have done this for 15 years and have had excellent results,  very seldom have to dr any, monitor and at ten days throw some ctc in the feed for a five day treatment.  We have a few neighbors that have started doing it also as they have seen how good of results we have had.  This lets the mommas get into condition for the winter and the calves start gaining weight immediately. 

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