When to Wean
Start to wean calves at 7-8 weeks of age or when they are 12-15% of the mature cow weight. A calf should be eating between 1.5kg and 2 kg/day concentrate for at least 3 days. Calves should be starting to eat some chopped straw or hay by weaning.
Only ONE thing should be changed at weaning which is stopping milk. Groups and concentrate should remain stable at weaning.
1. Does the calf have access to fresh and palatable concentrates?
2. Does the calf have access to fresh water?
3. Does the calf eat forage?
4. Is the calf at least 6 weeks old?
5. Has the calf reached target weaning weight?
6. Does the calf eat sufficient amount of concentrates?
7. Does the calf look healthy?
Up to 12 Weeks
Calves should ideally continue with the starter concentrate up to 12 weeks maintaining an overall protein level in the diet of approximately 15% protein. If you are wanting to change the concentrate around weaning, do not change it at the time of weaning, either change it two weeks before or two weeks after. Ensure that the calves are offered adlib concentrate for 2-4 weeks post weaning then start to reduce the concentrate feeding to approximately 2kg/head/day (depending on farm system and forage base).
Once weaned, hay or chopped straw can be offered adlib. The concentrate should be targeted depending on the forage quality and type. If fed on wheat straw, a concentrate should be approximately 26% crude protein. If on a hay-based forage, then the concentrate should be approximately 18% crude protein.
Aim for growth rate of 0.8-1.0kg/day. Know what your farm targets are.
At least one week post weaning calves can be moved into larger groups but ideally still no more than 30 animals in one air space. They should not be housed in the same area as adult cattle until at least 6 months of age. This will help reduce the risk of diseases, especially pneumonia affecting younger cattle. They should have access to 18” feed space per heifer.
If you require further information on Calf Nutrition & Management, then please speak to your local DN Sales Specialist or call Dugdale Nutrition on 01200 420200.