Before you think of weaning your calves, make sure that they are consuming the right proportion of feed. And the best way to ascertain this is by carefully observing if their rumen, is fully developed. Often, calves with fully developed rumen eat about 1 kg-2kg of pasture or meal daily.
If you want your calves’ rumen to develop quickly, you need to provide clean water, and good quality herbage feeds. On the other hand, giving your calf lots of milk will cause your calf’s rumen to develop slowly. Well, while some people feed their calves for eight weeks, some ten weeks, the consented amount of weeks to properly feed your calves is 12 weeks. Nevertheless, depending on the breed and weight goal you’re looking out for, you might want to reconsider your options.
Before you think of weaning your calves, you need to take into consideration their weight based on the breed. Ideally, you should only wean Jersey calves when they are up to 7kg, 80kg for Fr x J Crossbreds, and 90kg for Friesians breed.
As a rule of thumb, you shouldn’t feed your calves with more than 2 liters of milk during the first weaning week. It’s never easy for them during the weaning, which is why you need to take things slowly. You should also observe if the calves that you’re about to start feeding have shown the ability to compete within a group. If they can’t fight for their place in the mob, then you might want to wait a bit before weaning them.
Top Quality Milk Replacer
When feeding your calves with a milk replacer, avoid giving them cheap ones, which may stunt the growth as a result of the lesser amount of protein ingredients, found in cheap and low-grade milk replacers. Instead, go for high-quality ones that contain between 20-26% of protein. ProCalf and ProHeifer are not too bad.
Adequate Water Supply
The importance of having your calves drink enough water can never be overemphasized. This is because calves are born naturally without an active rumen. And for this rumen to become potent, it relies mainly on the fermentation of water and grain. Plus, water generally helps in making calves grow quickly. Again, it’s important they are hydrated at all times.
Make Use of Clean Feeding Utensils
It is essential to use clean utensils while feeding your calves, to guard them against the various cattle related diseases like pneumonia, scours, and so on. Plus, making use of neat feeding utensils will help avoid the mixture of water and grains, from getting into their rumen.
You must avoid feeding them with spoilt milk. This could even lead to weakening their overall immune system.
In a nutshell, I like feeding calves for more than 12 weeks, before slowly weaning them off milk gradually. So, if you have any additional thoughts on calves feeding, please don’t hesitate to share it with us in the comment section below. Cheers!