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Author Topic: Feeding 6wk calves  (Read 1701 times)

Tala Orchard

  • Joined Nov 2012
  • North Cornwall
    • Tala Orchard
Feeding 6wk calves
« on: August 20, 2013, 09:46:14 am »
We are in the process of buying two calves we know about milk replacement and dry feeding but we were wondering when they can be turned out to graze or feed say stubble turnip? We have stubble turnip for the sheep and we also feed the tubers to the pigs.

We want the best for the livestock but also need to make it cost effective.

Any and all advice would be appreciated.

Pigs are human tooo
Voss Electric Fence


  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Feeding 6wk calves
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2013, 10:19:56 am »
They won't be eating a great deal of cake at 6 weeks, will they?  I wouldn't be letting them graze for long at all until they are eating a good half-a-pound of cake each, with relish, twice a day.  If you want them to have exercise, do you have somewhere with little grass, or even a large shed, where they can run around?  Otherwise perhaps let them out to grass for an hour twice a day, something like that.

Once they are eating cake then you should be able to let them graze pasture.  Just a couple of hours a day at first, increasing up to all day as they get used to it and are not getting bloated.  I'd keep them coming back in at night.  Straw bedding they can also eat overnight.  Hay too if you like.  Cake available. 

Just watch out for any bloat.  Reduce the grazing time if they are showing any sign of bloat.

A regime could be :
first thing - milk feed
a couple of hours later - cake feed
an hour later - out to grass
x hours later - back in, straw available for bedding and eating
two hours later, when their tummies aren't so full - milk feed
a couple of hours later - cake feed
straw available for bedding and eating, plus hay if you wish

You can reverse the order of the milk/cake feeds if it suits you better; the important thing is to not let them gorge, so give them plenty of digestion time between feeds of any kind.  We do tend to offer a little bit of cake immediately after milk, but just enough to give them the taste and stop them thinking about milk, sucking each others faces, etc.  Once they are eating plenty of cake, then you need to give them digestion time between milk and cake / cake and milk.  When you want to start weaning, reduce the milk and let them have some of their cake ration straight away - so they learn that they can fill up on cake when they think they still want milk but there isn't any milk. ;) 

If you are putting them out to graze before they are really eating cake, then it's maybe best to put them straight out after they've had milk, so they're not too hungry and won't eat too much grass.  Then fetch them in after an hour or so and give them some cake, leave them inside with cake and straw.  Repeat after the next milk feed.

BH always chops roots for cattle, they're too likely to choke otherwise.  So I wouldn't put them on the stubble turnip.

Sorry if that all seems confusing, feel free to ask for clarification if I've just confused you!
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing


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  • Joined Sep 2012
  • Llandeilo Carmarthenshire
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Re: Feeding 6wk calves
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2013, 03:45:26 pm »
A dairy calf on powdered milk will often be weaned at 6 weeks. 
Should be eating a Kg conc  a day by then. A little grazing every day on grass or hay  is a good idea to develop their rumen.   Conc should be available ad lib until just after weaning.

Don't wrestle with pigs, they will love it and you will just get all muddy.

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brendan lyons

  • Joined Oct 2013
Re: Feeding 6wk calves
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2013, 12:23:14 am »
my calves are older, maybe 2 months maybe 2 and a half. I fed them coarse meal inside, but then put them out to grass until they all come in when it gets cold.


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