Thursday, October 10, 2013

Weaning the calves

There comes a time in every baby's life when it has to learn to live on it's own, not tethered to it's mother. Doesn't matter if its a baby or baby animal, although I did wonder about a friend, Regina, who I knew years ago. When your son walks up, lifts your shirt and goes to town, I think it's time for that kid to learn to drink out of a glass. But that's just me.

Our mama cows were beginning to make their feelings known on this nursing bit and the calves are big enough to wean. Years ago we used to just separate them one day and let the bawling begin, some of the calves would get hoarse from it and go off feed.

A few years ago I read about these 'Quiet Wean' nose tags, the manufacturer said it took all the stress out of weaning so we decided to give it a try and have been very pleased.

It's a little more work, we have to separate cows and calves and put the babies in the barn.

Sort off a calf and drive them into the headgate where Bruce installs a bright, yellow nose tag.

Then he pats the baby to show he means no harm.

All done with only one injury when a calf stomped Bruce's foot, that is why he wore overshoes over his boots, for more protection.
"Look, matching nose tag and ear tags, pretty cool, huh?"

"WAAAAAA! I Want My Mama!!"

The yellow nose tag brigade make their way back out to find their mothers.

The mothers anxiously awaiting the reunion with their babies.
"It's not that I don't love you anymore, I'm just tired of you pulling on me all the time."

Bruce pushes the cow/calf pairs back down the lane to the pasture where they will stay a couple of weeks.

During those two weeks, the nose tags prevent the calves from nursing and that attachment to their mother is broken. We can then separate them, put the calves in the feed yard and send the cows back to the pasture. There will be a little bawling from the cows, but it's really for show.
They are anxious to get back to doing cow things, like shopping without dragging the kids along and having a drink afterwards, you know you can't drink while you are nursing.


  1. huh well see I learn something once in a while about 'farming'. Never heard of this, what a great idea! Thanks for the blog!

  2. How long does the nose tag stay in? Does it have to physically be removed or does it eventually come out on its own? Inquiring minds...don't think I've ever seen one on a full grown cow, so--