Skip to main content

Weaning Beef Calves

What’s important during this life stage?

  • Maintaining calf health
  • Minimizing calf scours
  • Getting calves on feed

Common challenges

  • Weaning stress: Multiple stressors are present during weaning, including removal from the dam, new surroundings, commingling, new diets and transportation.
  • Respiratory disease: Commingling of large groups of animals increases the risk of a novel pathogen being introduced to the herd.
  • Scours: Calf diarrhea is commonly linked to stressful events, new environments and commingling.
  • Variable feed intakes: This is one of the most stressful periods in a calf’s life, and it often takes its toll on a calf’s appetite.

Tips for maximizing health and performance

  • Minimize weaning stress.
    • Prolonged periods of stress have a negative impact on immune function, so it is important to reduce the number of stressors the animal must face.
  • Provide access to clean food and water.
    • Avoid overcrowding, as this can lead to limited access to feed and water.
    • Reduced access to feed and water can lead to health challenges.
  • Supply gut health supplementation with research-based products.
    • A healthy gut not only contributes to efficient growth, it plays a critical role in preventing health challenges at feedlot arrival by helping to prepare calves for dietary changes.
  • Provide proper nutrition.
    • Supply a more nutrient-dense diet, as reduced feed intakes are common in newly weaned calves.