Tips for smooth weaning
The period around weaning is stressful for the calf. Some tips to ensure a smooth weaning process are listed below.
- The calf should always have access to fresh calf starter, clean water and roughage from the start of the rearing period to aid early rumen development.
- The calf needs to consume enough calf starter at weaning; 1.5kg of calf starter for three consecutive days is the minimum.
- Milk should be reduced gradually in the last week, either through volume per feeding and/or frequency of feeding (link for milk schedule)
- Stress should be avoided at weaning. Avoid:
- Moving pens
- Mixing groups
- Changing ration, either concentrate or roughage
Leave at least one week between weaning and any other stressful event
- Weaning should be avoided when calves experience a respiratory illness or bacterial infection.
- Calves should be moved gradually from a pre to a post weaning ration after weaning
- Concentrate intake should be built up from 1.5kg at weaning to 2.5 – 3.0kg per day after weaning