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Weak Weanling

  • 03-05-2022 12:25pm
    Registered Users Posts: 781 ✭✭✭ Stationmaster

    Just taken over family farm. Happened quick with no real preparation time. Would have always helped out but never really paid attention to why we were doing things so knowledge limited! About 15 suckler cows. Have a calf from last august very weak - feck all milk in mother and just weaning her now. Vet saw her and nothing specific wrong with her just malnourished. Want to get her right now over next few months so apart from nuts what else could i give her to bring her on a bit? Thanks.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,967 ✭✭✭ 893bet

    Plenty of good grass and a shake of ration if it’s handy. Not really feasible to be feeding one in a group.

    Mother likely had no milk and should be culled. Also a good chance they might have been a maverick calf sucking her aswell which often happens us. Pain in the arse as you need to seperate them from main herd often then.

  • Registered Users Posts: 781 ✭✭✭ Stationmaster

    Generally wouldn’t just be feeding one from a group but we usually sell ours in October (most of the cows are calving in March/April) - just had two late ones last year so she only has another similar aged heifer with her so I don't mind as a one off this year spoiling just the two of them to get her back up again.

    I’ve plenty of grass - what would be best meal to give her? Any other additives or supplements I could use?

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,975 ✭✭✭ patsy_mccabe

    If you bring them all in for a few days and separate the weak weanling. You can get him going on meal. You might be able to get him to come to you then in a corner of the field for some meal. Use a temp electric fence reel to keep others away. I've done this before and after a while the bull would come over on his own and the others wouldn't bother.

    " Always keep your eye on the ball, even when its in the refs pocket" 👍️

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,504 ✭✭✭✭ Base price

    I'd give him a mineral bolus like All Trace or All Guard and a (white) worm dose using something like Albex. If you think he is too small for the large bolus you can get smaller ones suitable for calves. I'd also get a dose of Bovicox or equivalent from your Vet if you don't already have it and a multi vitamin injection.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,041 ✭✭✭ Lime Tree Farm

    All good advice there. Have they had their blackleg shots. Gradually introduce them to meal, too much will cause accidiosis.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 7,967 ✭✭✭ 893bet

    Its a lot of work feeding just one. Really needs a small amount twice a day.

    Equally feeding in a group won’t work if they are weaker than the rest as they will be bullied from the trough and not get their fair share often.

  • Registered Users Posts: 781 ✭✭✭ Stationmaster

    Don't do them for blackleg here. Common advice I was given was that if it hadn't been a thing done regularly other years then no need to do it unless it's an issue vet said the same to me! How much meal roughly would you give her? I'd say she's no more than 250/260 kg.

  • Registered Users Posts: 781 ✭✭✭ Stationmaster

    Agree 100% re a lot of work feeding one but it's a one off due to the circumstances and we're anxious to bring her back to good health for sentimental reasons. There's only the 2 heifers in it (aug & sept calves from last year) - they'll be kept separate from this years cows and calves. Trying to get all the rest of the cows calving closer together for future years - there's 11 calved now, 2 due shortly but 2 more mightn't calve till july!

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,264 ✭✭✭ funkey_monkey

    Is there a paddock or similar that you could put her into alongside or near the others? You don't want her standing at the hedge roaring over at the others all day though, but if she is close enough for the companionship of the others she might be fine. Is there another underperforming one which you could put in with her and isolate them from herd and feed them both?

    Did the vet recommend anything other than feeding her up? Multivitamin and a worm dose might be good options.

    Not sure I'd say there is a lot more work feeding her. You'd be out checking them daily anyway so it's just a matter of bringing a bucket with a scoop of ration in it for her. Just a matter of getting a place for her.

    Was she taking ration in the shed?

  • Registered Users Posts: 781 ✭✭✭ Stationmaster

    No shed - everything out here! Yea, I've a handy 1 acre field that I can keep her and the other similar aged heifer in separately. As I said, everything else are this years calves along 4 more still to calve.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,041 ✭✭✭ Lime Tree Farm

    I'd give only give a few fistfulls weanling crunch to start. Keep the two weanling calves together, building up to 1kg mixed with Beef 16% ration. A 25kg bag of each should be sufficient. I wouldn't give them any more than that if they are on nice grass.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,264 ✭✭✭ funkey_monkey

    That's great then. Separate the pair of them and start introducing some crunch as @Lime Tree Farm stated, getting them onto a high protein blend.

    Good luck with the farming and keep up informed of progress.

  • A few runs of a multivitamin drench fired on to a bit of meal might help

  • Registered Users Posts: 992 ✭✭✭ mr.stonewall

    Small tip is to have a few buckets with lids or a watertight container nearby where feeding. Saves the hassle of carting meal to them. Calf ration is often great to get them started and put a bit of sugar on it. When eating it well, reduce it and slowly mix beef ration in its place. A small quantity is the key about 1 to 1.5 kg

    If you have an acre paddock this would be ideal and maybe split it in 2 or 3 breaks with strip wires and pigtails. Would mean getting a fresh pick everyweek. A small pick of hay if you have it can help, if they want it with grass they can pick it. Helps the rumen.

    Slow and steady is the key and you will get him back on track, and you might end up with a pet

  • Registered Users Posts: 781 ✭✭✭ Stationmaster

    Some great advice and tips there - thanks a million - very much appreciated.