My calves are started in sheds on rations, but I quickly move them onto grass. We have different set up here to many farms, as we have a large equestrian business as well, so the grassland is grazed by both cattle and horses which works out very well.
For the past 20 years the land was mostly used for tillage so there was very little parasite burden. We put the cattle onto the best grass and then they are followed behind by the horses who clean out the paddocks. The mixture works very well, we never have to use topper here at all. We also use our own crops to make our feed, using our homegrown barley and oats I formulate a feed of 55% barley, 20% soya, 15% beet pulp and 10% oats. This gives me a ration of between 18 and 19% protein. I prefer mixing it up myself as I see a big difference in the minerals compared to the bought ration, we are in a small deficit of copper in this area, so the animals’ coats have an orange hue off of them. As soon as I put them on my own mix, a week to 10 days later you will see the coats improving. It also means I have more control over their diet and I know exactly what they are getting.