Are You Ready For Weaning?

Aug 29, 2022

By Tara Jo Bina, Countryside Feed Sales and Nutrition 
Whether you are planning to early wean or stick to a traditional weaning period, making sure you are prepared can make a stressful time a little easier! Here are a few tips to prepare for weaning:
  • Functional Facilities
Check fences, gates, chutes, etc. to make sure everything is working properly. There isn’t much that will ruin your day like a sort gate that falls off the hinges, or a hole in the fence! Making sure your facilities are ready to separate cows and calves ahead of time can help avoid a big headache on weaning day!
  • Health program
Work with your veterinarian to develop vaccination, deworming, and potential treatment protocols well ahead of your planned weaning date. Local veterinarians will have a handle on what you should be vaccinating for and what vaccines are the most effective. Starting these conversations ahead of weaning time ensures you will have time to develop a program and get in the supplies you will need.
  • Water Availability
Water is often overlooked but is the most important nutrient we can offer cattle. If calves are not used to drinking form an automatic waterer and that is the only way water is available, many calves will struggle. Letting waterers overflow for a few days or offering a tank close to the automatic waterer can help with successful weaning.
  • Feed Program
Working with your nutritionist or Countryside Feed representative to develop a nutrition program for your weaned calves is very important. Good, palatable hay and grain offered soon after weaning provides nutrition to help calves cope with the stress of weaning. Another supplement option to consider is Stress tubs. Calves that are not getting to the bunk for one reason or another, can still get nutrition through these tubs!
A great reason to start this conversation early, is to start adapting calves to your weaning nutrition program early. Creep feeding the last 30 days on the cow is a great way to get calves used to coming to a bunk and tubs are also a resource that can be used before weaning to have a familiar feed source in the weaning pen.
Bunk accessibility is also important to consider when talking about nutrition. Giving calves 18 – 24 inches of bunk space gives them the opportunity to get to the bunk without too much competition. If you are early weaning, make sure bunks are not too tall for small calves to reach.
For more information about preparing for weaning or developing a weaning nutrition plan contact your Countryside Feed Sales Representative!

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