Maximizing Gains by Minimizing the Costs of Stress at Weaning
For both cows and their calves, weaning time presents one of the longest durations of high stress that they will endure. It is no surprise that this stress and its behavioural impacts affect gain potential and performance in the animals, and ultimately your bottom line. However, through an effective, cost-efficient approach to two-stage weaning, the negative effects caused by stress can be greatly reduced.
HOW IT WORKS:
At UFA, many of our producers who are easing their calves through the weaning process with the use of the QuietWean nose tags are experiencing better performance immediately after weaning and noting a reduction of stress-related diseases than compared to calves that are abruptly weaned.
Step One – Insert Nose Tag
Calves wear a lightweight, plastic, non-invasive nose tag, which prevents them from nursing, but allows the calves to graze and have full social and physical contact with their mother. These reusable plastic nose tags don’t interfere with drinking or eating, allowing calves to graze in the pasture or eat from a feed bunk without any difficulty. By minimizing the stress associated with separation from their mothers, calves will continue eating alongside their mothers, helping prepare both cows and calves for life after weaning by effectively reducing the maternal bond. This supports better gains and helps minimize the risk of stress-related disease.
Step Two – Remove Nose Tag after 4 to 7 Days
After calves have worn the anti-sucking device for a few days, simply remove the nose tags and separate cows and calves as you would normally do. Successful, low-stress weaning can be accomplished in only 4 to 7 days. Calves can then be shipped right at the point of separation, whereas the fence line contact method often requires calves to be held on the farm for a few days until their distress over weaning has subsided.
THE BENEFITS OF TWO-STAGE WEANING WITH QUIETWEAN:
Scientific studies show that compared to traditional methods, two-stage weaning will:
- Reduce calves’ bawling by 95 per cent.
- See a reduction in walking or pacing up to 15 miles less than compared to traditionally weaned calves.
- Increase the time calves spend eating following separation by 25 per cent.
Producers, as well as industry studies, also tell us that calves in a two-stage weaning program have a reduction in “shipping fever” and respiratory infections, as well as go on to better adapt and transition into the backgrounding feed yard. For cattle producers, this is integral, as ensuring the health and consistency of your calves is key to your reputation and return buyers year after year.
When it comes to selling your calves this fall, every pound matters. Through best practices at weaning, including a two-stage weaning program with QuietWean, you will be protecting the potential of your calf crop by minimizing the costs of stress and maximizing an environment for gain.
For over 20 years, UFA has supported the cattle industry by delivering the tools, products, services and support for successful business. To learn more about our products, please visit your local UFA or connect with one of our Livestock Specialists by calling 1-877-258-4500, Option 1 or view our Livestock Specialists contact information.