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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Momma don't let your calves grow up to be bulls

For the past couple of weeks I have been seeing all kinds of posts about kiddos headed back to school. I think there has been a mix reaction of relieved parents and bittersweet moments as moms and dads watch their babies grow up.

On the farm our baby calves are also growing up, and that means it is time to wean them from their mommas milk. This can be a stressful time for the calves and their moms, so the Boy and I try to do whatever we can to make the transition easier.

Introducing the Quiet Wean. That piece of plastic in that bull calf's nose is called a Quiet Wean. When the calves are ready to be weaned we place those clips in their noses. The Quiet Wean prevents them for nursing, but still allows them to eat grass and grain. This means that the calves get to stay with their moms (which reduces stress) while they become used to not nursing.

It also prevents the bawling (crying) that lots of people associated with weaning. It is much quieter around our house since the use of the Quiet Weans.

Someone on my Instagram feed asked what is the cows reaction? Using the Quiet Weans means less stress for the moms too. Even though the calves can't nurse, and their udders do become swollen for the first couple of days, the cows seem to eventually forgot about that and start grazing again. Food solves most problems for cows ;)

After the Quiet Weans have been in for 4-14 days we take out the clips and separate the cows and calves. And that is it. Those little babies are on their own and the moms are focusing on the new calf that is growing inside of them.

We spent Labor Day removing the Quiet Weans and now we have a nice group of calves behind of barn. I guess these guys can call me mom now.

9 comments:

  1. Lol I know what you mean. We have many cattle ranches around and this would be nice for them to use. But hey its ranching and it is what it is, right? We have a ton of sounds when we break our mares from the foals. I wonder if it would work on them.

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  2. Looks awesome!! I've never even seen it before. But we'll be weaning her later this year. Might have to check it out :)

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  3. We have never used those before. Could get costly for 600 calves. We have our steers sold, then will preg mamas the next day and turn them out in a field that hasn't been grazed since early spring. Heifers stay with mama until the snow flies and they get hay then put in the feed bunk where they become hogs! LOL!
    What a sweet looking little bull calf. Looks like a keeper to me.

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    1. He is definitely staying as a bull, but we'll sell him next spring.

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  4. I hadn't seen these yet, I don't think they would work for our opperation with as big as it is and with as many pastures as we have, but I wish it would! When we pull our calves they go up to Caleb's grandparents house, so we really don't have to that much....and his grand parents are hard of hearing and also raise dogs that bark all the time, so they really don't hear them either ;) but it does break my heart to hear them holler for a week. I always love it when it works out and we can wean them by the sign of the moon and then they only holler for maybe a day!

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    1. My husband's family's ranch also used to use the clips and when they tested them the group of bull calves that had the clips in kept an extra 100 lbs. on them. That's definitely extra money in the bank.

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  5. I learn so much here. Fascinating. It's great that you're able to reduce the stress of weaning.

    Greetings from Port Canaveral,
    Lois

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    1. Thanks Lois. We are always trying out new things to reduce the stress. Less stress means happier calves.

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  6. These are great! Will definitely be looking into these when we go to wean again!

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