As calves develop and the spring evenings get milder, it is time to consider letting out this season’s calves. Calves must be strong and healthy before considering letting them out.
These changes may cause a shock to the calf’s system as the animal adjusts to both a change in diet and climate. This sort of stress must be kept to a minimum to reduce any setbacks in the animal’s performance. For this reason, sudden changes in the animal’s diet must not occur. As spring grass is usually quite high in moisture and low in fibre, fibre must still be supplied to the calves once at grass.
For calves being fed a complete feed such as FibreGold Calf Starter, the straw, hay and alfalfa content within it has been developing the rumen since an early age. This can be continued at grass with our Calf and Yearling Fibre Plus 16%. The sharp, strong edges of the straw will continue to create an abrasive effect in the rumen. Keeping this fibre in the ration as a buffer will reduce the changes in the diet ensuring the calf continues thriving while their system is adjusting to being at grass. It will also reduce the risk of calves developing summer scour syndrome or diarrhoea due to the lack of fibre in the fresh grass. Calves at grass should be maintaining a minimum average daily gain of 0.8kg per day.
Calves should be let into fresh clean pastures before other stock to reduce the occurrence of worms. A leader follower system should be used for grazing calves, as calves can select the best pick of the sward while older stock will graze out paddocks. Calves feeding on good quality grass should be fed 1kg of ration while this can be increased for calves on poorer grass.
Calf and Yearling Fibre Plus 16% is available from Kehoe Farming in 20 bags, half tonne bags or in bulk. You can order online or over the phone. If you require any further nutritional information for your calves, be sure to give one of the team a call on 051-565588.
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