Under the Freshstart® programme, weaning can be defined two ways.

  1. Once the target weight of around 75 / 80 Kgs (Friesian) is reached the calf can be safely weaned off milk.
  2. A more accurate method of defining the true weaning date is once the calf is consuming around 2kgs of solid food daily. A young calf consuming this amount of solid feed will have a rumen that is functioning well enough that it can safely be weaned off milk and onto pasture with very little weaning check.

As with any changes to an animal’s feeding routine, the reduction of milk, should be completed gradually over a three to four day period. If the calves have been reared totally inside then it is advisable to hold them in for a few days once weaned so that they can settle down to the new routine without milk before being tossed out into the big wide world.

If the weaning process has been followed correctly the calves will settle down to a life on pasture quite contently and graze just like adult animals.

Weaning-calvesAlthough the calves at this stage are now happily eating grass the pasture still does not provide sufficient nutrition for them to grow adequately. During the next 4-5 weeks continue to supplement with so that their nutritional needs are being met and they can continue to thrive.

Calves raised on the Freshstart® programme will readily adapt to the challenge of growing and producing under New Zealand all grass farming conditions.

The evidence to date shows these calves, given the right conditions, will go on to enter the herd as bigger animals with a capacity to consume and digest larger quantities of grass which translates into better production.

The Freshstart® programme is not simply about rearing better calves but it is a programme designed to take a new born calf and turn it into an adult animal that has the capacity to produce to its genetic potential under our pastoral farming methods.