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Dairy management: weaning calves
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Dairy management: weaning calves

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The first of the heifer calves born this spring should be weaned off milk around now, at eight to 10 weeks old.
The first of the heifer calves born this spring should be weaned off milk around now, at eight to 10 weeks old.

The target liveweight at weaning is 100kg for Holstein-Friesian and 75kg for Jersey-crossbred calves. These are big weights and it can cost a lot to achieve them.

Some farmers will wean at lighter weights, but ensure good growth rates over the summer – so by next winter they are back to target liveweight but at lower cost.

Calves should be eating at least 1kg of meal prior to weaning and should be turned out to good-quality grass – ideally before weaning, so they are adjusted to grazing before the milk is taken away. The later-born replacement heifers will need extra ...

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