Early Weaning Beef Calves

Larry Morehead

Larry Morehead

Calves are ideally weaned when they are 7 to 8 months old. The right time to wean a calf depends on the amount of forage to eat, and the condition of the cow, not entirely on the age of the calf. Calves should be weaned before the body condition score of the cow falls below 3.5. It is important that the cow recovers and that the secretory tissue be restored before the next calf is born.

Preconditioning calves with creep feed is an easy way to get calves used to eating out of a feed bunk. When you separate cows and calves, by locking calves up in tight pen, the calves will feel more comfortable sticking their head in the feed bunk and continue to keep eating. This is also a good time to put some deccox in with the feed to prevent coccidiosis in your calves. Grass hay is also a good option to put in bunks, it will help draw the calves there, since they are already used to eating it.

Calves will not eat a high volume of feed the first few days so it is very important that the feed used is high energy and palatable.

We recommend putting Crystalyx Brigade high stress mineral tubs in the pen with calves. This is a free choice mineral that stimulates appetite and reduces stress.

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To ensure the health and well being of early-weaned calves, beef cattle producers must provide an excellent health and vaccination program. Be sure to work with your local veterinarian to properly design a health program that will work for your ranch.

For more information on our complete line of feed and mineral programs, please contact your local Central Valley Ag. We can help you determine a way to meet your specific programs needs.