milk feeding ???'s

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by mpillow, Jul 15, 2005.

  1. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    A friend of mine states that a calf beyond age 3 months is not likely to be able to digest and use milk to gain wt. Personally, I dont think this is true. We weaned our last calf(Holstein) at 5 months as we had plenty extra to give him. At 6m he weighed 450# and did not start eating much hay and grain until 3m.

    Your thoughts? I'd hate to think I poured all that milk down his throat for wasted calories.
     
  2. pygmywombat

    pygmywombat Well-Known Member

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    I think your friend is full of it. Our last steer nursed until the day he was butchered at 1 year and 1 week old, exactly. He was a purebred Guernsey and live weight was over 1100 pounds. He brought home over 300 lbs. of meat. Guernseys do not normally get that big by a year old, because most of them are weaned at 2-3 months. So, yes, I think a calf can utilize milk well after 3 months.
     

  3. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

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    I too think your friend is full of it. Beef breeders leave their calves on the dam until the calve is around 6 months of age - dairy breeders feed them for 8 weeks or so and then that's their lot. Put a 6 month old Angus reared on it's mother all it's life next to a 6 month old Friesian weaned at 2 months and look at the difference - even allowing for breed.

    Pygmy is quite right - even a dairy breed will outstrip it's hand reared counterparts if allowed to stay with it's dam for the natural time of initial rearing. So no, you did not pour all that milk down his throat for nothing, you gave him the best start you could have - and no doubt reaped the rewards.

    Cheers,
    Ronnie
     
  4. JulieLou42

    JulieLou42 Well-Known Member

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    My 3/4 Guernsey-Angus Cross weaned her bull calf somewhere between 8-9 months. I just figured she knows what she's doin' better than I do. I wasn't taking any of her milk since quite early on because she was such a stinker about it. Wouldn't drop her milk, and pee-ed and pooped twice and three times respectively in her stanchion during one milking attempt!!! Got to find a better way! Calf's at least 1000# at 13 months age; he's half Saler.
     
  5. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    Why do we humans always think we know better than Mother Nature?! :grump:

    Calves are weaned early for our convenience, not their optimal growth/health! Another thing I can't understand is keeping dairy heifers in those little hutches, either on a nec chain or with a pen just about big enough for them to turn around in.

    Now, if you look at a calf raised with its momma, on pasture, they spend a great deal of time running and playing. In fact, there was a about a month, when she was three or four months old, that Libby-Belle never went anywhere, unless it was full-tilt! And in the process they develop some muscles and become quite athletic ...

    Now, we want dairy animals with good feet and legs, and strong pelvic ligaments so they don't split themselves after calving, yet we raise them in such a way they're almost guaranteed to develop very little in the way of muscle tone. Perhaps they make up for this later, when they go into the heifer herd, but I'm not convinced.
     
  6. Christina R.

    Christina R. Well-Known Member

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    We weaned Corabelle during her fifth month (about 5 1/2) months. I know people who have gone longer, but she was our first and we were going by what our vet said. Whenever I asked, he'd always say he didn't see a need to wean her yet.
     
  7. Christiaan

    Christiaan Dutch Highlands Farm

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    My Highland cow weans her calves two to three months before the next calf is due. I am so grateful that she does the weaning herself. It would cost a lot of sweat and dollars to build an escape proof paddock for weaning.
    As for getting optimal nutrition from milk, as long as the calf is producing lactase it is getting all the nutrition it can from the milk.
     
  8. debitaber

    debitaber Well-Known Member

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    I have aq little orphaned calf, right now, on goats milk, he will probably get the milk, until he is close to a year old. I want a nice beef. i always feed milk, as long as the mothers feed. usually close to a year old.
     
  9. myersfarm

    myersfarm Dariy Calf Raiser

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    the only way i would agree with a calf can't use milk is if you weaned the calf with no milk for say 4 months then started giving it milk again...think the milk stomach would be to small to digest the milk....but i still think it would help..i raise dairy calfs i wean at 8 weeks now and feed grain till there 4 months old as much as they want...then put them out to pasture.....with milk i see them grow over night around 5 weeks to the 8 week mark thats with all the 20% feed they want and 1 gallon of milk a day.....i wean them off by cutting down on the milk each day and you can tell the next day they didn't get there milk the day before....john
     
  10. Horace Baker

    Horace Baker Well-Known Member

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    I have put calves back on the bottle at 6-8 months if I didn't feel that they transitioned to 100% forage properly. (We don't feed any grain). It has worked for us.
     
  11. JulieLou42

    JulieLou42 Well-Known Member

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    My cow's due anytime now; she's putting out mucous strings with her urine and her pelvis is looking different, between her pin bones and tail, so the calf has moved more into place. I think it was two days after that happened that she dropped with her second one. I hope my second dream it's a heifer is true. :angel:

    I've pretty much decided that this imminent calf/heifer is going to be hand- raised, not momma-raised, but with momma's milk. Maybe that way, she'll be very tame and just as healthy, not like her older brother, who wasn't handled much through last winter. He's very pushy, and I have to take a 2x4 into the pen with me to be sure I'm safe. He tries to butt everyone, and at over 1000k pounds, cannot have that happening. :stars: