A trial was conducted to explore possible advantages of pasture-weaning calves with contact to their dams. Three weaning strategies were investigated: 1) weaned at trucking, 2) weaned 30 d before trucking and confined in drylot, and 3) weaned 30 d before trucking and pastured with fence-line contact with their dams. Steers from the drylot weaning strategy lost 0.6 kg/d the first week in the feedlot, whereas steers from the truck weaning and pasture-weaning treatments gained 0.5 and 0.4 kg/d, respectively (P = 0.01). Body weight gain in the subsequent 3 wk was similar among all treatments (P > 0.05). However, the differences in the first week upon arrival in the feedlot were enough to impact overall gain of truck- and pasture-weaned calves compared to drylot-weaned calves (P = 0.01) during the entire 4-wk feedlot arrival period. Weaning effects on incidence of morbidity also were detected (P = 0.03). Only 15% of the pastureweaned calves required treatment for respiratory disease. This incidence was doubled for truck-weaned calves and nearly 2.5 times greater for calves weaned in drylot. Pasture-weaning with calves having fence-line contact with their dams appears to be an acceptable method of weaning.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Animal Science and Zoology