A well planned weaning is vital to the future performance of calves...

Calf health management around weaning is a vitally important area to get right because the effects of poor calf health impact on herd profitability.  Local veterinary advice is always important because disease risks vary from one part of the country to another but the principle we recommend is a precautionary one because the cost of disease control is small compared to the losses when a disease breakdown occurs.

When weaned calves are going to be transported to a different unit for growing-on, testing or finishing, a 40 days standstill post weaning is essential.  This period allows calves to recover from the stresses of weaning before the further possible stress of transport and a new environment.

Post weaning key things to check are that the animals are not overstocked for the available housing, the humidity is as low as possible, there is good ventilation and, where ever possible, age groups are not mixed.

Wean bull calves when they are 7 to 8 months old.  To ease the transition over the weaning process and to help acclimatise them to concentrate feeding, it is beneficial (but not essential) to offer creep feed for about a month pre-weaning.  This can reduce finishing age by 2-3 weeks (which is important when planning to hit the age specification (less than 14 months old.)

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