Calf Care Quick Tip: What Happens to Those Calves That Are Not Ready to Transition?

Posted on December 22, 2014 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus calf products coordinator
Every calf raiser has had that calf that is not quite ready to move to the next phase. What do you do with her? Do you still take her with the group?  In some cases, that may be fine, but, in other cases, she might fall behind and never catch up.  Here are few quick tips to solve that problem:

  • Hold them back. Clean out the stall and put them first in the line of the group that will be ready to move next.  An extra week or two of individual feeding will help the calf catch up with its herd mates.
  • Always group calves by size when transitioning multiple pens of calves. Animals of the same size usually have similar eating patterns. This will also help protect the smaller, non-aggressive animals from having to compete with the “big guys.”
  • Have a hospital pen for animals that need extra attention. By having a designated area, it is easier to observe and track those animals. This may be an end pen in a barn, a super hutch, or an extra hutch or two at the end of a row.

Regardless of your strategy, it is important to identify the animals that are lagging. In my experience, a slow calf given extra attention and time will catch up eventually. Conversely, if she is pushed ahead with the group, she will often end up on the cull list.

Category: Animal handling
Starting Strong - Calf Care