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Message Title: how early can you wean a calf
Author: Gary  Posted: 06\26\2001 21:52
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Dave,
If you started out feeding him with lamb replacer then I would just stick with it unless you start having problems with it. At 23 days old, they can be very finicky in their eating habits. Let him have free access to good clean dirt so that he can eat all he wants. Keep fresh water in his pen in a large enough container so he can not dump it readily, he will drink it if he has a mind to, if not don't worry about it. If he gets anything down the wrong pipe, he will definitely cough or wheeze a little when it happens. If he does, you may have to get a nipple with a smaller hole in it.
As far as his copper intake, I would not worry about it at this time unless you think that his mother is copper deficient. As far as getting him to eat grain or any other solids other than dirt, I would wait until he is about 60 days old and then start. If you have him where he can freely access grass and alfalfa he will try it on his own when he is ready!
If he is like some of our past bottle babies, the more you try to force them to take something, the harder they will refuse it. Be very patient! We have raised 10 calves on the bottle(5 at one time) and have never lost one of them! We had to tube feed a heifer twice a day until she weaned herself at 3 months. We have had to pull 2 heifers from their mothers at 10 days of age to treat for overmothering and ended up raising them on the bottle.
The best (most covenient) milk replacer we used was an Elk milk replacer that we bought through Frank Chan at Chan's Maple Lake Elk Farm but I don't think they make it anymore. The best formula that we used was out of Jerry Haigh' red book. The only problem with it is that you have a storage problem, with everything being fresh ingredients. Well I have rambled enough! I wish you the very best with your "little one". If you have any other questions or would just like to chat some more, my Email address is elkhaven@itctel.com home phone: 605-693-6735 after 6:00 p.m.