3 Tips to Set Your Calves Up for Success During Weaning


Calves are going through many changes in a short time frame. Gradually exposing these stressors can promote optimal health and performance. 

  1. Timing 

Consider vaccinating calves 3 to 5 weeks prior to weaning. Work with your veterinarian to build a healthy immune system before calves are placed into a new environment with new cattle that bring new pathogens. 

Castrate as early as possible. Decide what fits your operation, whether that’s at birth, during processing or once they’re moved. 

  1. Acclimation

Consider placing cow-calf pairs into the facility where the calves will stay. Once the calves learn where the water and feed sources are, you can remove the cows. 

  1. Proper Nutrition

Have clean water readily available to avoid more environmental stress. It’s crucial that calves learn that not all sources of water will come from a streams or ponds. 

Transitioning from nursing to grazing grass can play a big role in stress as well. Consider creep feeding. This will help the calves efficiently gain weight as well as be ready to graze grass once cows are removed. 

Calves are quite vulnerable during weaning. We cannot eliminate all stress but following these 3 tips can minimize stress and set your calves up for success for the next stage of life.