How to wean a four month old calf

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Anonymous (not verified)
Last seen: 01/01/1970 - 10:00
Joined: 12/07/2018 - 14:58

How to wean a four month old calf

We  have just had one of our belted galloway cows die in the paddock Cry.....she has a 4 month old bull calf who we assume we will have to bring in and hand feed. This is a first for us and we have no idea what the normal protocol is.....what should we feed the calf at this age and for how long? Is it likely that one of the other cows feeding their calves will allow him to feed from them? We would really appreciate any advice anyone can share with us. We are novices . 

Last seen: 03/08/2018 - 21:05
Joined: 10/20/2011 - 16:16

Hi there

You probably have little to worry about at this stage. The calf will grumble a fair bit for a few days, but will get over it. Calves on their Mum's are typically weaned at 6 months age however hand reared calves can be weaned from as young as 4 weeks age if they're up to weight, although more typically at 10 weeks of age. So long as your calf is of average weight and condition, you should be able to wean it straight away, or if you prefer,  wean it over at least over 10 days by giving it full cream milk powder (say 4 to 6 litres of made up milk) once per day, and gradually diluting it with water up to 50% by the completion of the duration.

Because the calf has been with Mum up to this time, it will already have a good idea of how to graze and drink water, two of the habits a calf normally  needs to 'learn'.

The essentials for the calf at the moment will be:

  • access to good quality short leafy pasture
  • access to clean water
  • access to a little fresh quality hay - replenished daily.

To make sure the calf has the best chance, get hold of some 'calf pellets' and introduce this to it and feed the calf at a rate of 1 to 1.5 kg a day for up to a further 4 weeks, feeding once per day, preferably in the evening.

It would also be a very good idea to 'drench' the calf for internal and external parasites as soon as possible. It's best to visit your local vet for advice and supplies on this one.

If possible, supply you calf with a companion - one of the other cattle, perhaps one of the younger stock if you have them. Calves are gregarious by nature, and will 'learn' off each other.

Don't hesitate to ask for any more tips

All the best

Roger

Last seen: 03/08/2018 - 21:05
Joined: 09/23/2011 - 16:27

Thankyou so much for the advice Roger....that was exactly what we needed to know....we will get onto to it today.

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