Care of Weaner Calves - advice from cow people please

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9 years 6 months ago #38460 by vjp
Hi there. After looking after a herd of 17 month bull calves for the year we decided to purchase our own, i really enjoyed looking after them and I have two Friesian 3 month old 100kg boys arriving tomorrow.

I don't yet have a lot of spring growth and would appreciate advice on general feeding. I thought I would buy 20% and feed out on that according to the weight instructions.

Thanks :)

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9 years 6 months ago #495750 by Gracelands
Well, my advise would have been to not get any until you had a lot of spring growth, then just leave them to it, along with a drench if needed after a few weeks.

Failing that, find out what they've been given as supplements so far, as that is what their stomach/rumen/palate will be used to, and get some of that for them.

I hope they are steers, and not bulls.

"Just living is not enough. One must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower."
Hans Christian Anderson

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9 years 6 months ago #495758 by LongRidge
If you actually mean steers, rather than bulls, they are somewhat easier to care for than are bulls. Thus please confirm which you want to raise.
Firstly, register with NAIT. Lots of info on the NAIT forum on this site.
If I were starting again I would shut up the whole farm, this year, to make hay or balage. Keep enough of the hay, or balage if you make so that you have 33.3 x your farm acreage. Square/cuboid balage is moderately easy to feed out, but Rounds need special equipment.
Buy (0.5 x yr acreage + 2) beef calves at the autumn beef calf sale in February or March.
Break feed the cattle after March, and start supplementing with hay about May. When the grass has run out the animals will need 1 bale per 3 animals for maintenance.
In October knock off a couple of the calves for meat
Shut up the paddocks for hay and spread fertiliser. You will make much less hay/winter feed this time, but use the same formula for how much to keep.
Buy (0.5 x yr acreage) weaner beef calves in the autumn calf sale in February/March.
I would mix them with the now 18 months, but keep the separate if you can.
Ditto feeding.
October 2016 sell the now 30 month olds to the freezing works.
Make hay etc.

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9 years 6 months ago #495770 by katieb
vjp yes feed them the meal as they are likely to get a knock back to start with due to stresses of transport etc so this will help to get them going well
Move them often so they are getting fresh grass they can pick the best stuff out of often

If you can see where they have grazed they should have been moved already

Find out what they have been drenched with & when, if over 3 weeks ago since a drench drench with an oral drench, do not use pouron for young stock.

Find out what vaccinations they have had....they should have had 2 shots of either 5in1 or 7in1 or 10in1

Animals rule our place... cows, calves, sheep, goats, pigs, horses, donkeys, chickens, ducks... the list goes on
...."lifestyle block like" 25 or so acres around the house attached to a rather large farm with dairy drystock & a 600 cow dairy conversion :)....1500 acres to call home

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9 years 6 months ago #495776 by muri
I would also ensure that they be weaned for at least a week or more before they bring them to your place. Newly weaned are not only somewhat noisy, but also unpredictable in behaviour at times

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9 years 6 months ago #495781 by LongRidge
I missed the note about the 2 you have already bought.

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9 years 6 months ago #495892 by vjp
Steers not bulls. Thanks Katie B and Longridge and muri for advice. Would you recommend the 20% calf supplement?

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9 years 6 months ago #495907 by katieb
20% will be at least 20% protien, many prople finish on 16% but you can get them growing a bit more with the 20% to start with then swap

Animals rule our place... cows, calves, sheep, goats, pigs, horses, donkeys, chickens, ducks... the list goes on
...."lifestyle block like" 25 or so acres around the house attached to a rather large farm with dairy drystock & a 600 cow dairy conversion :)....1500 acres to call home

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9 years 6 months ago #495908 by vjp

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9 years 6 months ago #495910 by LongRidge
If they have not been getting meal or pellets yet, then you are likely to find it difficult to persuade them to eat it. I have to forcefeed meal or pellets for a few days before they take it without my force. This involves holding the calf, opening it's mouth, forcing in some food, then holding the mouth shut for a while so that it can get a taste before it spits the whole lot out.

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9 years 6 months ago #496127 by vjp
Hey Longridge thanks for that, they were at first reticent has you said they would be - so I didn't worry - now they scoffing the morning and afternoon feeds. I have them contained in the paddock closest the house because I recently had a theft of a sheep and am nervous about letting them into the big paddock closest to the road....while they are quite small

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