how much grain should a weaning 12 w calf get?

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by cathleenc, Feb 15, 2011.

  1. cathleenc

    cathleenc Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I just pulled our jersey bull calf from his mother on Saturday and have been giving him 1.5 qts of grain/day plus 1.5-2 qts milk and all the grass hay he wants. He looks fine to me but my dairy farmer neighbor told me yesterday that she gives about 10 lbs grain/day to her calves when they are that age. My 1.5 qt of grain weighs about 2.5-3 lbs, so I'm wayyyyy below the 10 lb stage. Then again her calves have not been on their mothers for 3 months. The calf looks to be a good 225-250 lbs. The calf looks satisfied with the grain and milk, not bawling or acting starving. The weaning has been gradual over the last 6 weeks and cow/calf are next to each other in adjacent pens.

    And another question - chances are high that Dh and I will butcher this bull calf in early June, at 6.5 months of age - we're moving to a non-farm situation. We prefer grassfed beef for health reasons but my reading says this calf will not have well-enough developed rumen to thrive on grass alone till at least 6-7 months of age and needs grain till then for protein if not left on the cow. I will always take the compassionate approach to animal rearing, even if it comes at some loss to my family table. Any insights or advice?

    thanks,
    Cathy

    thanks!

    thanks!
     
  2. myersfarm

    myersfarm Dariy Calf Raiser

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    in 4 months you will butcher.....the amount of grain you feed him will determine the amount of BEEF you eat
     

  3. randiliana

    randiliana Well-Known Member

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    You should be feeding him 2-3% of his body weight in grain, at this point. So 4-6 lbs of grain or calf starter, especially if you want him to be grown out enough at 6 months to butcher. Keep free choice hay in front of him as well, the better quality you can give him the better he will grow. As he gets bigger/older, leave the free choice hay and increase his grain, according to how he is growing.
     
  4. myersfarm

    myersfarm Dariy Calf Raiser

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    ok if you are going to butcher in 4 months that is 120 days if he gains 2.5 pounds a day he will gain 300 pounds..if starting at 250 that will give you 550 live weight....to get him gaining 2.5 pounds a day he will need feed 3% of body weight adjusted each day and needs to be 14 % protien at least..




    .my program will tell us close because he is getting free choice hay

    what he will weight if you tell weight now.... exactly day you plan on butchering and % of protien feed your feeding % of fat in feed and the weight of feed
     
  5. cathleenc

    cathleenc Well-Known Member Supporter

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    can you help some more?

    Do you have a calf weight tape? I don't... only a goat tape.

    He taped at 45.5" - using data online for a jersey that would age him at 6 months and 275 lbs, seems high to me. He's really 11.5 weeks, 95% jersey and 5% guernsey.

    If you can help translate the actual heart girth of 45.5" into a jersey weight for me I'd be grateful - meanwhile I'm weighing my grain to get a more accurate measurement.

    got my date, came back with another question: the grain weighs 1 lb 6 oz/qt, so a 250 lb calf would need 5.5 qts of grain. Would I reduce that because of the whole milk that he is also getting? Getting 2 qts/day till mid-march when his mama leaves our farm.

    thanks again, Cathy
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2011
  6. myersfarm

    myersfarm Dariy Calf Raiser

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    no would not cut back because of milk...would just let that get him bigger


    what % of protien and fat
     
  7. cathleenc

    cathleenc Well-Known Member Supporter

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    update after a few days: I began increasing grain, went from about 2 lbs day to 3 lbs day and then 3.5 lbs. Calf got an upset rumen with the increase and stopped eating any grain at all - so I pulled all grain for 30 hours and supplemented with some more warm milk from his mama and best quality hay on the farm, with small tubs of salt, loose mineral, and baking soda available should he want them.

    I offered grain at each feeding and waited till he was very eager to get it before letting him have more than a few grains. A good friend taught me that grain to a calf should be like candy to a kid - if the animal/child is not eager then something is out of wack and take it away and let the stomach get 'right' again. Both last night and this morning he's very very eager and gave him 1 lb each feeding. Will increase but much more slowly this time.

    He's clearly lost some condition but I guess I expected that during his first 7 days with no physical access to his mom. Both of them bawled a bit on day 2 but nothing since, at least that I've noticed. They look at each other across the pen fencing but not at all as intensely as I expected.

    Any advice for working up the grain amounts and keeping the calf's rumen in balance?

    The grain is a whole grain organic feed that I get in bulk from a friend - I've used the same mix for years for goats. Corn, oats, wheat "something", but no soy if I'm remembering correctly. I believe it's about 16%.

    thanks,
    Cathy
     
  8. southerngurl

    southerngurl le person Supporter

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    You just have to do it slowly. How quickly did you increase from 2 lbs to 3.5?

    Calves can certainly grow great on grass (well, "forage", a lot of our field is clover). But ours grow out real nice on our pasture. Butchered our bull at about 10 months and he was well over 800 lbs. Course he was getting milk from mom until about 8 months.

    My plan for the bull calf I have right now is to grain him for rumen development. Then when our pasture comes on real good wean him off the grain and let him grow off the grass/clover.

    But if you are wanting to keep a healthy balance of omega fats in your beef while still feeding grain, consider feeding flax seed.

    Also, giving garlic will increase growth. http://www.springerlink.com/content/3j244m7q28085228/
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2011
  9. cathleenc

    cathleenc Well-Known Member Supporter

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    somewhere from 3-4 days.
     
  10. randiliana

    randiliana Well-Known Member

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    For his weight you should probably only increase it about 1/2 lb in a week. His guts need time to adjust to the change before you increase it again.
     
  11. cathleenc

    cathleenc Well-Known Member Supporter

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    thank you. Very clear - will begin implementing asap.