Bucket calves

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Ohiosteve, May 20, 2004.

  1. Ohiosteve

    Ohiosteve Well-Known Member

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    Dec 26, 2003
    Location:
    Ohio
    How long do you folks keep calves on milk replacer before weaning? I have been
    raising Jersey bull calves off and on for several years. My neighbor has a Jersey dairy farm and gives me these calves as they are nearly worthless at auction.
    I have been keeping them on the replacer for at least a month to six weeks, however, he gave me one the other day that was acouple of weeks old that was already weaned. I was amazed but this calf seems to be doing fine on creep feed and dry hay. Since I'm paying over $50 for fifty lb of milk replacer I
    would like to wean them as soon as possible yet not risk losing them. Thanks!
     
  2. grainbuyer

    grainbuyer New Member

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    Aug 15, 2002
    I raise these calves too and I am just buying one bag of replacer and
    feeding them at the 2 litre level twice a day. For the last week on milk
    I plan on dropping them down to once a day feedings. They have calf
    creep, hay and water available to them. They are doing just fine right now.
    I want to get them on pasture asap.

    Gerald
     

  3. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    Jun 28, 2003
    Location:
    Southeast Iowa
    WOW! I'd think that was awfully early to wean a little one. I also think that milk replacer is expensive. I have a Holstein calf that we kept on replacer until her was 10 weeks old...I don't think I'd want to wean any earlier than that...but then, I am of the opinion that the longer you can keep them on the milk, the healthier, bigger and stronger they'll be in the long run. And I'm a sucker for calf eyes!

    I'd say that if he looks healthy, is eating and drinking and munching hay like he should be, then just keep an eye on him. If he looks like he may not be gaining like he should, perhaps a week or two more on the bottle will help that a bit.

    -Sarah
     
  4. Nette

    Nette Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Location:
    NC
    We keep our Holstein calves on replacer for two-and-half to three months. Just depends on when we have time to move a group out of the stalls and into a pasture. We keep them with their mama for about a day, bottle feed them for a couple days, then get them on a bucket ASAP, because it's so much quicker.
     
  5. Ohiosteve

    Ohiosteve Well-Known Member

    Messages:
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    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2003
    Location:
    Ohio
    Thanks for the replies. This is how I have always done it - at least a month on
    milk replacer gradually tapering off while providing creep feed and hay. I was just
    amazed how well this calf is doing so soon off the replacer. The dairy farmer that gave him to me really operates on a shoe string and does alot of questionable things to save money.
    These calves are really a nuisance to him. He told me once that he took several
    to the livestock auction in a stock trailer and while he left the trailer parked with
    calves he came back to find several more than he started with. Apparently another farmer found it easier to dispose of them this way than trying to sell them! I think they produce superior beef. They do gain slowly though.