Weaning can be a very stressful time for calves. Not only do calves lose their daily milk, but they get put in a group pen where they have to compete for feed. That double dose of stress can be hard on some calves.
Jon Robison, professor of dairy science at California State University in Fresno, offers the following tips for minimizing stress during this time:
Leave calves in the hutch for a few days after weaning.
When you move calves into a group pen, feed a ration that is very similar to what they had in the hutch.
Some calves, even though they are old enough to wean, are not really big enough to compete in a group pen. Keep these calves in hutches a few days to a week longer to give them a little more growth.