We weaned the spring cows about a month ago, but I don’t know if I’ve ever shown you how we do that around here…so here we go.
First, we move all the cows up to the barn. We usually get the first group up there and then half the crew stays in the barn to work the calves, and the other half goes out to gather more cows.
Grampy is in charge of the gathering crew.
And his favorite recruits are his grandkids.
And once in a while, his son-in-law. (Actually, I just like this picture of Will so I threw it in. But he does help when possible!)
The gathering crew continues moving cattle to the barn while the barn crew begins working them.
Once the cattle are to the barn, we sort the calves off. Rhett’s job is to push the calves up the alley. To do this, he sorts off 6 or 8 calves, then moves them down the alley…
Into a little pen…
Through the tub, and up to the chute.
He’s such a good worker.
Once the calves are in the chute, we tattoo them…
Grammy loads the digits into the tattoo gun. The number we tattoo the calf with is the same as his ear tag number. This will be his permanent identification for the calf’s life. We do this because ear tags fall out on occasion, and as we are a registered operation, we have to know who each animal is so that we can record information about him.
As Clint is tattooing the calf,
Joe is vaccinating him. And once in a while he gives Grammy a shot if she stands too close. Just kidding! To my knowledge, Grammy has never been accidentally vaccinated. This picture just made it look like that could happen so I wanted to reassure you that it didn’t.
Joe also pours the calves with de-wormer and fly spray, collects a weight, and determines if it is a bull or a heifer.
He relays this information to me and I record the data while my lovely assistants open the correct sort gate.
These boys got quite a workout, but they were great help.
We put bulls in one pen…
And heifers in another.
And this process went on and on all day long for two days. Ty questioned if we would ever run out of cattle. But about 300 head later, we were done!
When all the cattle were worked, we took the mommas across the road to their pasture…
And the calves across the road to theirs.
(P.S. The pictures of moving the cows across the road are actually from a couple years ago because I forgot to take a picture this year. Oops! But they looked much the same. Except the grass wasn’t green this year.)
We keep the cows and calves right across the fence from each other while they say their goodbyes. Most cattlemen would call that “until they get bawled out,” but I prefer to think of it more like kids going off to college. The mommas are just shouting their last-minute instructions like, “Don’t hang out with the wrong crowd!” “Eat healthy!” “Study!” “Don’t forget to put paper down when you use a public restroom!” (Oh wait, that’s just my mom.)
Anyway, after about three days, the cows are done giving advice and the calves are happily eating and enjoying their newfound freedom.
So that, my friends, is how we wean.
Have a great day!