Calf weaning management
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Work with your vet
Reducing calf stress throughout the weaning process is said to reduce calf illness and mortality.
Rick Rasby, beef cattle specialist at the University of Nebraska, offers guidance to livestock producers when it comes to creating a successful, low-stress weaning program.
First, he recommends working with your veterinarian and creating a vaccination program will help you meet your goals.
"Make sure that you have the vaccination program that's suited for your goals and objectives and for your particular area," he says. "And then the other thing is, depending on the type of weaning management you're going to do, make sure you have the facilities to get that kind of thing accomplished."Date Published: March 30, 2015Date Updated: March 30, 2015
Separate the cows and the calves by putting the calves into a dry lot, and the cows into an adjacent pasture.
Rasby says it's important that you feed the calves a highly-palatable and nutritious diet. They need the right level of energy and nutrients to replace the milk they are use to in order to continue gaining weight.Date Published: March 30, 2015Date Updated: March 30, 2015
Fence line weaning
Another weaning method that's becoming more popular is fence line weaning, where calves stay in the original pasture, cows are moved to an adjacent pasture, and the cows and calves are separated by an electric fence.
"In this situation, you have enough fence line that they can pair up across the electric fence, and the data says that morbidity, mortality and the number that you treat for sickness in a fence line weaning situation is really minimal," says Rasby. "A lot of stress is removed in that situation. When you take pictures of it, what we find is the cows stay longer at the fence line than do the calves!"Date Published: March 30, 2015Date Updated: March 30, 2015
Rasby says there is no typical time frame as to how long it takes to wean calves, but the quicker you get them to eat on their own, the less stress there will be.
Click here for more information about weaning calves.Date Published: March 30, 2015Date Updated: March 30, 2015
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