Pushing calves

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Bright Raven
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Pushing calves

Postby Bright Raven » Fri Feb 02, 2018 9:49 am

I followed the steps advocated by the UK ag professor on accelerating the growth and development of calves. I started halter breaking at a month old. I followed last falls setup of exposing them to grain and high quality hay in an area isolated from the cows. I like the results. My calves are consuming more hay and grain. Growth looks excellent.

The tenets of his plan are as follows:

1. Allow calves to access an area isolated from the cows.

2. Put out high quality grain and hay. At first they just lick at the grain but it puts them on track.

3. Provide fresh water that they can access

These steps will accelerate the evolution of their rumen.

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Even Little Queer Gimli is growing:
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Last edited by Bright Raven on Fri Feb 02, 2018 9:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Pushing calves

Postby Stocker Steve » Fri Feb 02, 2018 9:52 am

How old were the calves when you started this creep feeding?
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Re: Pushing calves

Postby Bright Raven » Fri Feb 02, 2018 9:56 am

Stocker Steve wrote:How old were the calves when you started this creep feeding?


One month. That is when they learned they could get away from mom, access feed and hay. They start eating noticeable amounts at about 6 weeks.
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Re: Pushing calves

Postby Bright Raven » Fri Feb 02, 2018 10:00 am

Not all HPF Optimizer calves have chrome. This is not a good picture because he was tense but I really like this calf. Going to have great EPDs. Dam is a Fire Sweep MONTECITO.
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Re: Pushing calves

Postby Bright Raven » Fri Feb 02, 2018 10:09 am

This is an Ironhide out of a Hudson Pine/Rocking P cow.
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Re: Pushing calves

Postby Silver » Fri Feb 02, 2018 10:10 am

We've always kept our replacements separate and fed them the best hay. The last few years we've also been feeding a high quality grain mix ration of about 4-5 lbs per day from shortly after weaning to spring. Improved conception and retention are the obvious pay offs, as well as a calmer gentler animal going forward. Those heifers that don't calm down generally get culled out before they become a cow.
Your calves look great btw.
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Re: Pushing calves

Postby Bright Raven » Fri Feb 02, 2018 10:15 am

Silver wrote:We've always kept our replacements separate and fed them the best hay. The last few years we've also been feeding a high quality grain mix ration of about 4-5 lbs per day from shortly after weaning to spring. Improved conception and retention are the obvious pay offs, as well as a calmer gentler animal going forward. Those heifers that don't calm down generally get culled out before they become a cow.
Your calves look great btw.


Out of 14 fall calves, only 2 are too shy to walk up to and put your hands on them. The fun and joy I get from my calves is why I love this. They make me happy.
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Re: Pushing calves

Postby Bright Raven » Fri Feb 02, 2018 10:19 am

Two nice heifer calves. Left is an Upgrade. Right is a Live Ammo.
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Re: Pushing calves

Postby poorfarmer » Fri Feb 02, 2018 1:18 pm

I don't know how I feel about creep feeding calves especially, spring born calves. I think there are several factors to consider. First when will you be selling. If you are selling straight out of the pasture then yes it will add some extra pounds. If you will be holding them and backgrounding, then the pounds can be gained back in the winter when there isn't cheap grass for them to eat. I was always told a calf will go for milk first, then feed, then grass. I did creep feed years ago but I can get them to the same weight more economically by waiting until after they are weaned. On another note your calves do look nice.
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Re: Pushing calves

Postby Bright Raven » Fri Feb 02, 2018 2:32 pm

poorfarmer wrote:I don't know how I feel about creep feeding calves especially, spring born calves. I think there are several factors to consider. First when will you be selling. If you are selling straight out of the pasture then yes it will add some extra pounds. If you will be holding them and backgrounding, then the pounds can be gained back in the winter when there isn't cheap grass for them to eat. I was always told a calf will go for milk first, then feed, then grass. I did creep feed years ago but I can get them to the same weight more economically by waiting until after they are weaned. On another note your calves do look nice.


Background:

This is a very small operation. I have no reservations about calling it a hobby. I have 16 cows and 5 replacement heifers, all AI breed going into 2018. All calves will be born in Sept/Oct. I have 14 calves still on cows. Those are some shown in the pictures. I will sell at least 7 to 9 of those as seedstock cattle. I will keep at least 2 heifers as replacements. I develop all my calves with the assumption they will go somewhere to be used as breeding bulls or replacement heifers.
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Re: Pushing calves

Postby NonTypicalCPA » Fri Feb 02, 2018 3:46 pm

They look good! I too creep fed my calves this summer up until weaning. I'm too green to know how much a difference it makes but my calves look fat and happy. I'd love to hear how you halter train them? I've got a month old bull calve that I'd like to halter train.
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Re: Pushing calves

Postby TennesseeTuxedo » Fri Feb 02, 2018 3:57 pm

Pampered babies.
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Re: Pushing calves

Postby Bright Raven » Fri Feb 02, 2018 4:22 pm

NonTypicalCPA wrote: I'd love to hear how you halter train them? I've got a month old bull calve that I'd like to halter train.


Refer to diagram below:
Image
Cows are fed round rolls in hay rings in Area A.

Calves can pass under a wire into Area B. Area B has a two feed troughs. The area also is provided with hay. By age one month, they have learned to enter area B to enjoy feed and escape the confusion of Area A.

When all calves are in Area B, access back to Area A is closed. Calves are moved from Area B through Area C to the Sweep (Area D). The sweep gate is shut and the alley to the chute is blocked. The calves are haltered in the sweep and tied to the railing.
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Re: Pushing calves

Postby Jeanne - Simme Valley » Fri Feb 02, 2018 5:14 pm

You are doing a great job. How many pounds of grain are they consuming (each) in a day?
We won't touch our Sept/Oct calves until maybe first of March. All barn areas are being utilized for "spring" calving. They are getting some corn in their calf sheds, but no human contact yet, other than our walking around them. We have 6 fall calves, 3 heifers, 2 steers & 1 bull.
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Re: Pushing calves

Postby Bright Raven » Fri Feb 02, 2018 5:34 pm

Jeanne - Simme Valley wrote:You are doing a great job. How many pounds of grain are they consuming (each) in a day?
We won't touch our Sept/Oct calves until maybe first of March. All barn areas are being utilized for "spring" calving. They are getting some corn in their calf sheds, but no human contact yet, other than our walking around them. We have 6 fall calves, 3 heifers, 2 steers & 1 bull.


Thank you. I appreciate that from you! They are eating at the rate of 5 pounds per calf per day.
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