Under natural conditions, calves stay with their mother until weaning at 8 to 11 months. Heifer and bull calves are equally attached to their mothers in the first few months of life. Cattle are considered to be "hider" type animals, utilizing secluded areas more in the hours before calving and continued to use it more for the hour after calving. Cows that gave birth for the first time show a higher incidence of abnormal maternal behavior.
Video of a calf suckling
In one study, beef-calves reared on the range were observed to suckle an average of 5.0 times every 24 hours with an average total time of 46 min spent suckling. There was a diurnal rhythm in suckling activity with peaks between 05:00–07:00, 10:00–13:00 and 17:00–21:00.