So. We’re Weaning.

My plan was to wean in the spring so the calves could have a little bit of milk as they grazed stockpiled grass through the winter but I’m cornered and have to change my plan. My cows really aren’t adapted to grass and I question their condition as we head into winter. So here goes. As usual I’m trying something I have never seen anybody do in real life. Cause that’s how I roll.

Will it work? Dunno. Seems like a good idea. I have heard me say that before…

It ought to work. If you didn’t watch the videos, I want to point out there are no spikes on these. They are just flat plates that you put in the calve’s nose. One calf responded negatively to having something yellow on his face he couldn’t escape from but didn’t appear to suffer any other discomfort. On Christmas day the calves will be separated from the cows. More chores. Yeah!

Dad and I were checking things around noon yesterday and it looked like Henry was nursing in spite of his jewelry. Upon closer inspection though, he was just standing there looking frustrated.




This is not a product endorsement. It’s not a recommendation. It’s a note in a journal. “Dear diary, here goes.”


8 thoughts on “So. We’re Weaning.

  1. Be VERY careful with your Dexter calves, when using these devices!!! Keep your eyes on them, religiously. We had one manage to get his off his little nose, a week after the first installment. Milk in an udder for a week, emptied within a few minutes… and we were on a 24-7 fight to keep him alive and pull him out of it. The one day I leave the house to run errands in another town… hoping Hubs would be keeping close watch…. uggghh…. I don’t trust these things. We’ve gone to fence weaning. And we’ve had really great fortune with that.

    • I think that’s good advice. We are shooting for 5 days then I’ll put the calves and a few heifers in a lot for a month or more. We intentionally chose to do this when we were around to keep a close eye on things.

      My main concern is the pressure on the mama cows. I may need to milk the Jerseys. The Shorthorns are inflated but don’t produce near the volume.

      • The cow will quit making milk if you (or the calf) quits milking. If you milk them out, they will continue to produce, tapering off compared to cold turkey can invite more troubles than you want to deal with…when the udder is full the cow will stop producing milk.

        Don’t want to say been there done that, but been there done that. We had ideals to graze year round, quit the hay habit, etc., but switching gears, doing deep bedding, making some real fertility in the barn for the pastures was our winter salvation. Chores are easier for all, the cows are warmer, the feed is better, and they can wean their calves on their schedule while gaining weight. Just sayin’ I know that is my path and you have more pasture than we do which I am jealous of BTW. 🙂

  2. Hey that product was developed in my Province! Glad to see you are trying a reduced stress weaning process. I weaned my last foal with natural weaning methods separating them for a few hrs a day in nearby pens they could see each other but not nurse and increased the length over 10 days and it was done. I think it was about day 4 the foal got scared over something (coyote) and had a small freak out for its mother but other than that I had no issues. My doubtful neighbors that offered to let the mare go over to their place for 4-6 wks of weaning were surprised.

    I like their simple sorting method. Do you have a head gate or chute or are you a champion roper to boot? 😉

    Not being able to escape the yellow thing on it’s face sounds the same as halter breaking a foal they generally try to rub it off/shake it off, anything until they finally figure it out. Keep us posted on the results!

    BTW Dr. Mercola released another video today promoting Grass Fed Beef :

    • Grandpa built a really sweet sorting barn. Well, Grandpa had Barney and dad build a really sweet sorting barn. Almost everything in there is a gate then there’s a chute that leads straight to a head gate or you turn right and heads to a loading chute or you turn right and it heads to the cattle barn. The only thing missing is a scale.

      • Nice! I don’t think we have ever seen inside your barn before – you should take a pic when you run the calves back thru to take their nose flaps off. 🙂

  3. So… what about the white elephant in the room – “My cows really aren’t adapted to grass…” I don’t get it – are these the same grass fed cows you had all summer? Is it the tall fescue they aren’t adapted to or ?

    • Our cows came off a feedlot. They were fed grain their entire lives. So were their moms. And their moms. Not too far back the herd were milking shorthorns. Not only are they selected to perform on grain, they are high milk producers too. They are genetically equipped to become 1500 pound monsters.

      If a cow has to get up and work for a living things are different. Hopefully the heifers I am raising will be closer to grass.

      Adaptation isn’t something that happens in months. That’s adjustment. Adaptation is genetics. Cows that breed and re-breed every year only eating what grows on the farm. Their coats are slick, they tend to be short and round. They tend to produce a good volume of milk for about 90 days then dry off. That’s not what I bought.

      I bought cows the size of elephants that, apparently, milk off of their back, have trouble re-breeding and spend all day looking for more to eat, not lounging around ruminating.

      I have high hopes that the heifers we raise will be closer to grass than their mothers.

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