When Do You Wean Bottle Calves?

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by Tango, Sep 28, 2006.

  1. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,205
    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Location:
    Florida
    Just wondering. Seems some do better than others on milk -based replacers. For the ones that don't do well on it, seems healthier to get them on grass and hay and grain. Haven't really experienced one that does well on milk-based replacer yet so can't tell you if a 6-8 week weaning target date is even reasonable. My target date has been 5 weeks. When I had two on my Jersey, I let her wean them and one heifer calf was still nursing partially at 8 months. Big difference! :)
     
  2. Razorback21

    Razorback21 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    421
    Joined:
    May 13, 2003
    Location:
    Southern Illinois
    We shoot for 45-50 days old and evaluate the individual calf. Were they healthy the first 40 days of their life? Any other setbacks? Are they eating enough grain? Have they started mouthing the hay? When we are comfortable with this, we cut back to a half bottle for a few days, then a quarter bottle, then down to one feeding, then off. Has worked for us so far. I'm sure others have their methods.

    Razorback21
     

  3. Yvonne's hubby

    Yvonne's hubby Murphy was an optimist ;) Staff Member

    Messages:
    32,538
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2005
    Location:
    Kentucky
    When I used to raise bottle calves I always weaned mine when they were eating 2 lbs a day of 16 percent dairy pellets. That usually occurred at about 3 to 4 weeks of age. They were then allowed out of their quaranteen stalls into the pasture with the others. I continued them on the pellets, free choice and pasture/hay till they weighed 500 lbs and off to market they went. I use the powdered milk replacer and had real good luck once I learned to cut the mix to about half as much as was recommended. I never fed them more than half a cup to half gallon of water twice a day once I figured that out. :)
     
  4. topside1

    topside1 Retired Coastie Supporter

    Messages:
    4,849
    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2005
    Location:
    Monterey, Tennessee
    Tango, I wean the bottle babies at 7 weeks, no exceptions to date. Been working for me...Good to see a thread from ya....Tennessee John
     
  5. tyusclan

    tyusclan Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,484
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2005
    Location:
    Florida
    I also evaluate each calf individually, but generally shoot for 4 weeks, if they're eating well.
     
  6. dosthouhavemilk

    dosthouhavemilk Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    2,174
    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2004
    Location:
    SE Ohio
    We aim for 6-8 weeks at home, though that all depends on how many are being fed at one time and how much time it takes.
    At the school farm, usually 2 1/2-3 months old.
    We use a different milk replacer than the school farm. We also rely on the Primer 1 because we don't have quality hay for our young calves. The school uses Cow's Match and the calves are *finally* being offered Primer 1 again after a couple years of not using it (the assistant said they wouldn't eat it).
    I'm preparing to wean a couple of calves hitting the 2 1/2 month mark.
     
  7. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,205
    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Location:
    Florida
    Yes, the individual should set the mark. In my limited experience, I haven't had an individual setting much of a mark. Seems like weaning around 4-5 weeks is more reasonable, though my heart was telling me a lot longer. My next set of calves won't be on milk replacer. I am going to try whole milk diluted by 25% with water to see how they do. Good to hear others feed the 16% dairy ration, mine haven't liked calf starter.
    Yvonne's hubby, so you cut the powder by 50%? What brand do you use? Purina Nurse Chow has a graduated cup where they mark "Stress level," "normal," and "weaning." I could try the weaning ratio to see if it cuts down on scours. They're not killer scours.... just scours. Like they're just not utilizing their nutrition well.
     
  8. ozark_jewels

    ozark_jewels Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    9,246
    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2005
    Location:
    Missouri
    We never wean before three months, and if the calf isn't completely robust, they get milk longer. We are feeding milk....
     
  9. Rockin'B

    Rockin'B Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,447
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2006
    Location:
    No. Illinois
    We just weaned our calves about 10 days ago at 8 weeks old. They have been very good eaters, not picky at all. they went after the bottle like a kid in a candy store. With the great advice we got from this forum, we free fed calf starter, water, and good hay. They are now on grass with free choice hay and calf starter two times a day.

    They are growing well and looking great.
     
  10. travlnusa

    travlnusa Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,245
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2004
    Location:
    WI
    When we had hostien calves, we would wean after they were on about 2 lbs of starter per day.

    However one year when I was traveling, they calves were about 6 1/2 weeks old, DW wife came down with a very bad case of the flu.

    I had voice mail message from here," I have the flu and cant get out of bed, the calves are now weaned." They came out just fine.
     
  11. suburbanite

    suburbanite Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,596
    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2006
    Location:
    N. Calif./was USDA 9b before global warming
    :rotfl:
     
  12. arabian knight

    arabian knight Miniature Horse lover Supporter

    Messages:
    25,223
    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2005
    Location:
    West Central WI.
    I always get my bottle calves when about 4 to 6 days old and then I can do the Finishing and bonding with them And this has worked out great over the past 20 years. They are so nice and tame when I personally have done the bottle feeding and then after a month old start using a bucket for the milk replacer instead of the nipple bottle. Works great and even as they are growing up even a year and half old I still them them a Big Bucket of milk as a treat once in awhile,,, They Love that~!
     
  13. savinggrace

    savinggrace COO of manure management

    Messages:
    1,427
    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2005

    :dance: If that isn't a perfectly scientific method I don't know what is! :p