Weaning time – how do I catch up those late born calves?

Weaning time – how do I catch up those late born calves?
As a farmer, creating a level of uniformity in your heifer calves at weaning should be a primary target as this will aid with ease of management in growing them to target weights right through until they hit the herd.

Before you wean a calf you should be able to answer ‘Yes’ to all the questions below:
  • is the calf healthy?
  • is the calf eating more than 1kg high-quality meal per day or is the mob eating an average of more than 1.2kg meal per day per calf
  • is this calf tagged and recorded correctly (e.g. NAIT, MindaLive, CRV MyHerd)
  • was the calf disbudded more than a couple of weeks ago
  • has the mob had their vaccinations (lepto, BVD, salmonella and clostridial diseases depending on your farm risk profile)
  • have they been drenched recently with an oral worm drench
  • is the calf above the target weight for weaning. The later born calves will always lag behind, therefore in order to create an even mob, weaning the earlier calves lighter and the later calves heavier works very well e.g. 85kg for the first batch of calves, 90 for the mid batch and 95 for the 3rd batch
  • can I feed this mob of calves well on grass and meal only (do I have good quality feed on farm and am I in a position to accept the calves eating 3-4kgDM per calf per day of grass)
  • will I be on farm in the next week to keep an eye on any calves that struggle with weaning (diseases like Coccidia, Yersinia and Thiamine deficiency are more common post-weaning)
  • be particularly careful when moving calves, ensure that you check them over the next few days to ensure they have adapted to the new environment, especially if introducing them to older animals
  • have I looked at the weather – if a storm is coming maybe leave weaning for a few days?!

    Date Added: Saturday, 3rd October 2020