Fall Weaning Success

Aug 23, 2021

Late summer and early fall are typically the times when spring born calves are weaned. Weaning occurs when the cow and the calf are separated so the cow's udder can dry up. This process helps the cow to replenish body condition in preparation for next year’s calf.

Weaning is a stressful time for the calf and cow. Sometimes to minimize the stress, fence line weaning is used. In most such instances the calves are locked up in a small lot while the cows are still in the pasture. If the fences of the pasture are tight enough so the calves can’t get out, the calves are left in the pasture while the cows are hauled away.

Feed consumption of the calves typically drops during the initial days of weaning. If the calves were on creep feeders prior to weaning, sometimes the feeder is pulled into the lot with the calves for a familiar feeding setup. The disadvantage to a feeder in the lot is not knowing who is eating and who isn’t. Extra attention is required to figure out when the calves need treated for sickness.

Fiber based feeds are used for calves that have not been exposed to any type of feed prior to weaning. Start with small amounts to keep the feed fresh. Gradually increase the amount of feed to be consumed in order to get the calves to full feed. Adjust the diets as needed to grow the calves to your desired outcome.

Lick tubs can be used to promote a healthy gut through saliva production. Crystalyx Brigade tubs or Energilass rumen booster tubs are excellent choices to aid in the weaning process.

Contact your local SFG office to obtain the supplies you need to have a successful weaning process!