Preparing calves in advance of the actual weaning time is well worth the effort. Immune functionand response to vaccinations are lower during periods of stress, and weaning is a form of stress. If you are planning to precondition your calves, many veterinarians suggest that vaccinations be given 3-4 weeks prior to weaning. By following the above suggestion, you will reduce the stress at weaning and improve the immune response to the vaccine. Another tool that is often used that works well at the time of weaning is to accustom your calves to a supplement that they are familiar with. Because of the amount of rainfall that we have received over the last month, the grass cover continues to be strong on protein. The level of protein that is critical for the rumen population is 8%, so at that point we would suggest using a protein supplement like HE 20% or VP 30 Crystalyx. As I said because of the protein content, producers have elected to continue using the Mineral-lyx to get the calves accustomed to a supplement. At the time of weaning, producers will then shift to the Crystalyx Brigade product and freshly weaned calves will actually seek out the tubs in a pen. The Brigade product is a high quality supplement which supplies natural plant protein, electrolytes, and natural and chelated forms of mineral to encourage feed intake and reduce stress at weaning.
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Medicine Hat Feeding Company Ltd. 3381 Gershaw Dr SW, Medicine Hat, AB, Canada T1B 3N2