Post by smokymtnheritage on Mar 12, 2009 0:20:00 GMT -5
Normally, we like to keep our calves with their dams for a while but we may need to separate a dam and calf combo... In this particular case we will be unable to bottle feed... soooo.... what's the soonest someone out there as seen a Dexter calf wean from milk and transition to grass/hay?
I am not sure about the "soonest". However, I wean mine normally at 3-4 months with no problems. You will get different opinions on this and it will also depend a lot on the particular calf. If that calf is eating grain and hay while also nursing, you can probably pull it off and it will be ok.
If you truly are going to provide the calf with hay and grass only I would say not any earlier then 3 months. They just do not have a rumen developed yet for high fiber like that and the calf will take a huge hit on development.
If you are willing to supplement it with grain then get it on calf manna or a calf starter as soon as you can. Feed developed for calves is easy to digest and has all the appropriate vitamins and minerals for the calf to grow and develop. They even have milk replacement pellets that can be mixed into its feed so you do not have to bottle feed it. Going this route you could wean it as early as a month old off mom. If you get it on milk replacement pellets then you could wean sooner then that.
Most my calves start eating hay and grass at a day or two old, they will even lay out in the pasture APPEARING to be ruminating but it is only a process they go thru to develop the rumen. It is not a indication that the calf is ready to leave mom.
If your problem is that you do not want to mess with a calf or only want to use the cow for a milk cow then maybe find someone that wants to raise a bottle calf or just butcher the calf as baby beef.
Last Edit: Mar 12, 2009 21:38:17 GMT -5 by rdoubled