Early weaning...

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Location: Iowa

Re: Early weaning...

Postby SPH » Mon Apr 09, 2018 9:33 pm

I thing the 1 thing when it comes to creep is not putting it out too early and not using it as a way to inflate weaning weights or supplement poor performing cows. We usually don't put creep out till about 4-6 weeks prior to weaning to get the calves adjusted to feed and then we fenceline wean which we noticed when we started doing fenceline weaning it really cut down on the stress and bawling and both cows and calves are a lot calmer and get over the separation a lot quicker.

As far as the early weaning goes, we usually start calving late Feb and try to be done by May 1 but sometimes have a straggler or 2 that calves in May. Usually wean in late Sept or early October which is right around that 205 day mark for a good chunk of the March calves which is usually the month most of our calves are born. In 2012 and 2013 we had back to back summers of drought where where we had to bring the cows out of the summer pasture in July and back to the main farm where we try to save pasture for fall grazing when the creeks dried up and we weaned calves at least a full month early both years. Our family has raised cattle there for 38 years and those are the only 2 years we can ever recall it being so dry that we ran out of water in the summer pasture. We take BCS scores at weaning and looking back we had some of our poorest BCS scores those years and it was obvious to us at the time that early weaning was necessary because the cows just weren't producing as much milk as they typically do so neither they or their calves would have gotten much out of leaving them on the cow for another month.

Go with your gut, if you're already deep into it in feed inputs you may as well just pull the calves off the cows early because all your gains at this point are feed induced anyways and your cows are going to be more efficient with those inputs not having to raise a calf at the same time. Mother nature sucks sometimes but nothing you can do about it. It's April 9 and we're still getting winter like weather here in Iowa with snow and below freezing temps overnight. It was actually warmer for good chunks of December than it has been on so far for most of March and April here. Getting a relief from that the rest of this week with more spring like weather but back into the overnight lows in the 20's again this weekend. Friday into Saturday is a nasty dip with a high of 74 (warmest it will have been all year so far) and rain on Friday and a low of 26 on Saturday and a high of 39 on Sunday currently forecasted.
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Re: Early weaning...

Postby elkwc » Mon Apr 09, 2018 10:48 pm

We creep the fall/winter calves but usually don't the summer calves. But may have to some this year depending on if and when it rains. We have creeped the heifers calves some in summers when the grass wasn't as good and this maybe a summer we do it again. Unless something changes instead of selling them at 700-800 I imagine many will be sold in the 600-700 range. We usually don't have much trouble weaning ours. In 1-2 days they are over any bawling and we turn them out. I feel the less time they spend in a pen the less likely they are to get sick.
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Re: Early weaning...

Postby Coosh71 » Fri Apr 20, 2018 12:36 pm

Thanks again for the point of views. We have turned calves out in a small trap for now. Cows are already gaining weight and BCS is improving. It's amazing the change in a short time on the cows. Calves weaned great no bawl at all and are doing great on grass.. like Elk said ours will sell at least 100lbs lighter than usual.
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