Rearing bucket calves

Obi Wan

Member
Location
Argyll
Hi I'm looking for advice please, I'm planning to buy in some beef cross heifer calves to build up numbers. This is something we've never tried, I'm looking for advice on the daily routine required to successfully take a 2-3 week old calve through to post weaning and thrive beyond.

I've found a decent source of calves that I'm happy with. Location and ground type means they would be kept inside until turn out time at late spring.

Also we're planning going in batches of 5 or 6 and will be using powdered milk as there's no dairy close enough for beastie milk etc.

I've looked for step by step guides online but they're very weighted by supply companies.

I'm thinking feeding, bedding, medicines and anything else like best suppliers or products that can help.

Thanks for reading :)
 

primmiemoo

Member
Location
Devon
As already said above, read some guides.

If you're feeding in 5s, say, a Wydale calf feeder makes life easier. You can pop oral medications in a compartment for an individual calf, or wean the oldest first if it's needed.

Twice a day feeding better than once, ime. Give good quality roughage (barley straw) and a good calf but/coarse mix from the outset.

Vaccinate against what's prevalent in the area.

Buy a dandy brush and make a fuss of them every so often. A calf rug is always handy if one needs some tlc.

Good luck.
 

Obi Wan

Member
Location
Argyll

Obi Wan

Member
Location
Argyll
As already said above, read some guides.

If you're feeding in 5s, say, a Wydale calf feeder makes life easier. You can pop oral medications in a compartment for an individual calf, or wean the oldest first if it's needed.

Twice a day feeding better than once, ime. Give good quality roughage (barley straw) and a good calf but/coarse mix from the outset.

Vaccinate against what's prevalent in the area.

Buy a dandy brush and make a fuss of them every so often. A calf rug is always handy if one needs some tlc.

Good luck.

Thanks for the advice, I'll buy a few calf jackets to keep them toasty :)
 

HarryB97

Member
Mixed Farmer
As said above Calf Jackets are definitley well worth it. Day after arrival BVD tag and cull and that fail, at the same time put EID tags in if you have a reader and give them an intranasal pneumonia vaccine to provide quick cover. A few weeks later if they are doing well give them their first proper pneumonia vaccination then a follow up 3 weeks later. We disbud any that need doing between these to injections to minimise stress. Feed twice a day and don't skimp on the amount of powder and make sure its skim based not whey. Keep the bed deep and dry, small troughs of clean water for easy cleaning, racks with straw not hay and gradually increase the amount of pellets as they clear them up, use a 6mm pellet not 3mm. Make sure your hygiene is top notch as well and you have a hot water supply for washing pens and kit. We generally use Hexasol to treat calves as it contains an anti inflametry as well and give 2 injections 3 days apart. Luckily you're only rearing a small number but calf rearing is always a challenge no matter how hard you try, as our nutritionist said, every batch he did he said would be his last!
 

primmiemoo

Member
Location
Devon

This.

There's also a new preventative against inflammation brought on by new surroundings - powder that that can go in the milk for the first day or so, iirc. That's something I'd have used when rearing. Worth a chat with the Vet, maybe?
 
Location
Devon
As said above Calf Jackets are definitley well worth it. Day after arrival BVD tag and cull and that fail, at the same time put EID tags in if you have a reader and give them an intranasal pneumonia vaccine to provide quick cover. A few weeks later if they are doing well give them their first proper pneumonia vaccination then a follow up 3 weeks later. We disbud any that need doing between these to injections to minimise stress. Feed twice a day and don't skimp on the amount of powder and make sure its skim based not whey. Keep the bed deep and dry, small troughs of clean water for easy cleaning, racks with straw not hay and gradually increase the amount of pellets as they clear them up, use a 6mm pellet not 3mm. Make sure your hygiene is top notch as well and you have a hot water supply for washing pens and kit. We generally use Hexasol to treat calves as it contains an anti inflametry as well and give 2 injections 3 days apart. Luckily you're only rearing a small number but calf rearing is always a challenge no matter how hard you try, as our nutritionist said, every batch he did he said would be his last!

You need to give them the intranasal pneumonia BEFORE they come on farm if possible.
 

HarryB97

Member
Mixed Farmer

This.

There's also a new preventative against inflammation brought on by new surroundings - powder that that can go in the milk for the first day or so, iirc. That's something I'd have used when rearing. Worth a chat with the Vet, maybe?
Solacyl, we do use it but the price has just doubled :mad:
 

Hfd Cattle

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Hereford
For what it's worth...
We only rear calves in May/ June and try to get all off same farm but not always possible . All have hexasol on arrival . We use a Pyon heatwave system which is cheep and cheerful. Usually rear between 30/40 calves and they are divided into 4 pens each pen has 2 teats . Ad lib barley straw and course mix is available. After 6 weeks they only have milk available at night ,during the day the water comes through the heatwave system and weaner pencils are slowly introduced. After 8 weeks they are sorted out and any that might be a bit behind stay on the night milk but the rest weaned off . Job works well for us the wife sees to most of it ,she has more patience than me !
We used to do batches in winter and used the coats which I think are a great idea...I didn't think so when the vet first suggested it but was very quickly converted. We now only do summer rearing cos that's when the shed is available and they are a bit of age going into the winter.
 

DanM

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
West Country
As said above Calf Jackets are definitley well worth it. Day after arrival BVD tag and cull and that fail, at the same time put EID tags in if you have a reader and give them an intranasal pneumonia vaccine to provide quick cover. A few weeks later if they are doing well give them their first proper pneumonia vaccination then a follow up 3 weeks later. We disbud any that need doing between these to injections to minimise stress. Feed twice a day and don't skimp on the amount of powder and make sure its skim based not whey. Keep the bed deep and dry, small troughs of clean water for easy cleaning, racks with straw not hay and gradually increase the amount of pellets as they clear them up, use a 6mm pellet not 3mm. Make sure your hygiene is top notch as well and you have a hot water supply for washing pens and kit. We generally use Hexasol to treat calves as it contains an anti inflametry as well and give 2 injections 3 days apart. Luckily you're only rearing a small number but calf rearing is always a challenge no matter how hard you try, as our nutritionist said, every batch he did he said would be his last!

Why is the size of pellet important:scratchhead:
 
ive some bought in beef calves one is breathing fast and not eating much, jagged yesterday with draxin its no better today, the calve is 5 months old and off the milk a while ago, still outside and getting protein pellets, anyone any ideas whats wrong with it? should i bring the calves inside or would that make matters worse?
 
ive some bought in beef calves one is breathing fast and not eating much, jagged yesterday with draxin its no better today, the calve is 5 months old and off the milk a while ago, still outside and getting protein pellets, anyone any ideas whats wrong with it? should i bring the calves inside or would that make matters worse?
Get some anti-inflammatory into it. Loxicom or similar.
 

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HSENI names new farm safety champions

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Written by William Kellett from Agriland

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The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) alongside the Farm Safety Partnership (FSP), has named new farm safety champions and commended the outstanding work on farm safety that has been carried out in the farming community in the last 20 years.

Two of these champions are Malcom Downey, retired principal inspector for the Agri/Food team in HSENI and Harry Sinclair, current chair of the Farm Safety Partnership and former president of the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU).

Improving farm safety is the key aim of HSENI’s and the FSP’s work and...
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