Weaning and receiving calf management

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Charolais calvesGeni WrenCalves that know how to eat and drink are less likely to get sick when they enter the feedlot. The nutritionists and consultants at Great Plains Livestock Consulting Inc., Eagle, Neb., offer these recommendations for weaning and receiving calves.

Prior to weaning calves:

  • Give them a round of vaccinations, dehorn, worm and put them back with the cows. This will reduce stress and allow the calves to mount a greater immune response to vaccinations.
  • Creep feed the calves for at least four weeks prior to weaning. This will increase the energy intake of the calves prior to and during weaning. Calves that know how to eat are a lot less likely to get sick.
  • Newly weaned calves should have 24 inches of bunk space and two to four inches of waterer space.

Prepare for new arrivals:

  • Make sure manure is hauled out of the pens.
  • Waterers need to be clean. They should be cleaned weekly.
  • Fences are fixed and cables are tight.
  • Remove from the pen any sharp or toxic objects.
  • Bunks are clean and straightened.
  • Received calves should have 24 inches of bunk space and two to four inches of waterer space.
  • If the calves have been creep fed, put a creep feeder in pen for a few days, also feed some of the creep feed over long-stem hay in the bunk.
  • Put extra waterers and feed or lick tubs by fences to get calves walking the fence interested in drinking water and eating feed.

 For more information, visit GPLC Inc

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Texas  |  September, 15, 2012 at 10:04 PM

Suggestions for practices to follow "Prior to Weaning Calves" are good but the cow/calf producer needs to make a few dollars from these efforts. This article would better serve producers if it included a discussion on how to market these calves other than sending them through a local livestock auction. Certainly, GPLCI has the experience to tell producers, especially small herd owners, how to recoup these expenses when selling calves prepared in this manner for the feedlot.

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