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Weaning Calves with Minimal Stress

Improved Health and Performance with Nutrition

Weaning is one of the more stressful times for calves.  Managing weaning stress is a major factor that determines when many producers market their calf crop.  Weaning stress is a combination of nutritional and social changes forced upon the calf.  Avoiding the risk of health problems at weaning is one reason some producers choose to wean on the trailer as the calves go to the sale barn.  CRYSTALYX® offers several products that can help reduce the social and nutritional stress at weaning which will allow for pre-conditioning and selling healthier calves at a later date and at a heavier weight.

Top 3 reasons to manage weaning and market heavier calves:

  1. The feedlot buyer wants heavier calves.  Average placement weight in feedlots have averaged over 740 pounds for most of 2015 and 2016.  Animals over 800 pounds are the highest percentage of animal placed in the feedlot.
  2. Add revenue by selling more pounds.
  3. Improve selling price as calf prices during the fall are typically the lowest of the year.

Minimizing Nutritional Stress

Nutrients critical for immune function are trace minerals, copper, zinc and selenium. The calf’s diet has been milk and grass, which are not very good sources of the trace minerals.  The liver is the main storage organ for many trace minerals. The calf has relied heavily on liver reserves of copper, zinc and selenium for both growth and immune function.  Weaning occurs when the calf is at a dangerously low trace mineral status.  It is very important to offer diets and supplements that are nutrient dense and palatable during the weaning period.  CRYSTALYX® stress supplements such as Brigade® and Battalion® are nutrient dense, highly palatable supplements that calves consume by licking.  Not only does CRYSTALYX® Brand Supplement Barrels deliver nutrition, but they also help minimize other stresses associated with weaning.

Minimizing Social Stress

Abrupt removal of milk is stressful and removal of the Mother at the same time multiplies the stress load.  Fence line weaning and the use of weaning nose rings are ways to remove milk without the added stress of missing mother while learning a new environment.

Offering CRYSTALYX® Brigade® or Battalion® for a few days to a week prior to weaning will help ease the social stress by having another familiar item, the Barrel, in the weaning pen.  Once calves learn what the Barrel provides, they will seek it out.  Use this natural attraction to the Barrel to help calves find and learn where water tanks and fountains are located.

Lowering Risk and Improving Performance

A successful weaning and transition to the next production phase is all about getting calves on feed as fast as possible. The use of CRYSTALYX® Stress Supplements have consistently been shown to reduce morbidity and mortality rate of calves at weaning and receiving.  Part of this response is due to the concentrated mineral and vitamin delivery.  When we have tracked feed intake, the improvement in feed intake is one of the largest benefits, in addition to improved health status.  Often we will observe 0.5 to 1.0 pounds/day improved total feed intake compared to not using a CRYSTALYX® Stress Supplement.  All cattle producers know that if calves are eating well, they rarely get sick. 

CRYSTALYX® Brigade® Battalion® to minimize stress on calves

CRYSTALYX® Brigade® Battalion® to minimize stress on calves

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