Weaned calves acclimatise to new surroundings with maremma guardians

Weaned calves take in their new surroundings

Weaned calves take in their new surroundings

We’ve weaned a bunch of calves and they love their new surroundings by the forest. When I took this picture, they were still a little overwhelmed, walking quietly around the paddock.

At our farm, calves are weaned relatively late. The calf rearing experts say you can wean a calf as soon as she’s eating at least 1.5kg of grain or pellets per day but, in my view, it doesn’t hurt to offer them milk for a bit longer. Calves are the future of our dairy farm and we don’t skimp on their wellbeing.

We’ve chosen a paddock far from the dairy that offers shelter from cold weather and shade from the sun. Cows are kept off this pasture to minimise the risk of transmitting disease like Bovine Johnes Disease from one generation to another. Aside from buying in bulls to preserve genetic diversity, we have a closed herd and no history of the muscle-wasting BJD but it’s good practice to keep stock under 12 months old off pasture that’s been grazed by mature cows.

While the pic doesn’t show them, maremmas Charlie and Lola have been staying close to their charges and I’m hopeful the transition will extend their range.