Everyone knows when you wean calves they bawl — a lot.
However, research reported at an international dairy conference in Sweden this summer shows that by taking a cue from beef cows, you can minimize the bawling and stress that calves go through at weaning.
“In beef cattle, calf weaning by the dam is a slow and natural process,” says Anne Marie de Passille, animal behaviorist at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
In a study conducted at the University of British Columbia, researchers found that when the milk fed to calves was gradually diluted with water over five days, bawling ceased. The calves increased starter intake on their own.
Here is the five-day dilution schedule used: