2-3 months is the ideal age to wean a calf and feed it high-quality hay and grass.
If you will be providing the best hay and grass only for the calf then I recommend noting earlier than 3 months.
This is because calves do not have a rumen developed yet for high fiber like that and a calf fed a high fiber diet younger will suffer a huge hit on development.
However, if you’re going to supplement it with the grain then get the calf on calf starter or calf manna as soon as you can.
Feed developed for calves is quite easy to digest and it contains all the much-needed minerals and vitamins for the calf to grow and develop.
They even contain milk replacement pellets that can be mixed into their feed so you need not go through the task of bottle feeding your babies.
Taking this option means you can wean as early as a month old off mom. If you get it on milk replacement pellets then you can wean sooner than that.
Most of the calves on my property begin eating hay and grass 24-48 hours after being born, they will even lay out in the pasture appearing to be ruminating but it is only a process they go through to develop the rumen. That does not mean the calf is ready to leave mom.
If perhaps you do not want to mess with a calf or only want to use the mother as a milk cow then maybe butcher the calf as baby beef or find someone that wants to raise a bottle calf.
ALSO SEE: Bottle Jaw in Goats & Sheep Treatment
Calf Pellets How Much To Feed?
You can feed calves about 10% of their birth body weight (1 quart of milk weighs 2 pounds).
For instance, a Holstein calf weighing 90 pounds at birth would be fed 4.5 quarts (9 pints) of milk daily or 2.25 quarts per feeding when fed twice a day.
When to Wean Bottle Calves?
Bottle calves can be weaned from milk when they consistently eat a pound and a half or two pounds of the calf starter, for at least three days in a row. This means that calves should not be weaned on age but rather on their feed intake. Some calves can be weaned at 4 weeks of age, while others may be older – 1o weeks old or older.
It all depends on the farmer’s preference.
How to Raise A Calf Without Its Mother
- Feed the calf milk or milk replacer every two to three hours for the first three weeks.
- Next, reduce feedings to two or three times per day.
- Calves should be fed 10 percent of their birth body weight (1 quart of milk weighs 2 lbs.) Milk replacer should contain a minimum of 20 percent crude protein and 20 percent fat.
What Is A Good Weaning Weight?
A good calf weaning weight should be around 50% of its mother’s body weight or between 500 and 700 pounds.
When do Calves Start Drinking Water?
Calves can start drinking water from one to two weeks of age after drinking milk from a cow.
How Long Does A Calf Stay with Its Mother?
A calf can stay at least 3 months with its mother. Some farmers allow it stay up to six months.
When do Calves Stop Drinking Milk?
A calf can be weaned by a human at three months of age. Otherwise, let nature take its course.
How long does a calf need milk?
As long as you deem it fit. But, 2-3 months is usually fine.