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Can I wean 90-day-old calves that weigh 300 pounds?

By   /  July 10, 2017  /  2 Comments

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The answer is yes. Dry weather has made this – and variations – the question of the day. In an
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About the author

Dr. Ringwall is the director of North Dakota State University's Dickinson Research Extension Center. The Center was established to research crop production and improvements to native and introduced forage crops for ranchers on the Missouri Plateau region. The Center's runs a herd of May calving cattle.

2 Comments

  1. Chip Hines says:

    Program sated in the article.
    “Calves should be supplied a highly palatable ration that is high in protein, available energy, vitamins and minerals.
    • Starter rations should be available to the calves during a two- to three-week adjustment period before they are weaned.
    • Calf vaccinations should be administered at the beginning of the adjustment period (or sooner). Injections of vitamins A and D also should be given at this time.”

    In 2001, as the drought in the southern plains became brutal, I fence line weaned my calves early. I had been fence line waning several years on grass and did so with giving my calves no preweaning vaccinations. Doing this I had no sick calves to doctor. My calving began April 20. The 20th of August I weaned the older calves on grass with no shots and no special feed. They never looked back, gaining from day one. No sick calves. The first week in September I weaned the younger calve. No sickness. My weaning procedure always began with waiting until the calves had sucked their mothers and eaten some grass before gathering at about 9:00. I used good stockmanship while sorting and turned the calves out with a full belly. Calves are resilient if handled as naturally as possible. They had no strange foods causing rumen stress.

  2. Steve Washburn says:

    We weaned calves ranging in age from 80 to 120 days several years ago by gradually increasing separation from cows. Started with a 12-hour separation before allowing to nurse, then 24 hours, 36 hours, and 48 hours. By then, calves were readily consuming feed and continued to grow without problems.

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