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Discussion in 'Cattle' started by jlgoinggreen, Jan 8, 2010.
At what age should we start feeding the calves hay?
You should put hay out for them as soon as possible... whether they eat it or not is a moot point. If it's there, when they are ready for it, they have it.
On bottle calves I offer it to them on day 3 as well as a handful of grain
What they said.
You can introduce hay from day one, although I usually wait till they are at least 4-7 days old. At that age it does not need to be good quality nutritious feed, just clean straw to get their rumen working. The good quality hay should be introduced in time for them to be eating hay well by the time they are weaned off milk.
Rumen developement is influenced more by the ingredients in grain. Feeding straw to scratch the rumen to get it working is an old wives tale. http://www.calfnotes.com/pdffiles/CN019.pdf
calves should have access to a good quality grain starter, good quality hay and fresh water within the first week.
I had a black angus calf that started eating hay at 4 days old.
Our calves start tasting hay within the first couple days. We keep them on the cow for a few months, so they like to try whatever mom is eating. I separate the cow/calf overnight and usually give the calf a bit of hay in case she wants to eat some overnight.
Watch a week old calf next to mama. They start chewing on it but watching mom.