Weaning the Fall Calves

Bonnie Larson Uncategorized 1 Comment

We weaned the fall calves a couple of weeks ago.  We were a little behind schedule as we had a hard time finding a week without a snow storm.  But we did it!

First, we gather all the cows.

Then we put them all into the barn…

And sort the babies from the mommas.

This reminds me of sending children off to school.  That first day you send your baby off to Kindergarten is tough.  You feel sad and discombobulated.  You wail and mourn and think the world is going end.  But the second day becomes a little easier, and by golly by the end of the week you are rejoicing in your new-found freedom!  (Or maybe that was only me.)

These cows are in the “first-day-away” stage and can be quite noisy.  I feel for you girls!  It gets better!

Meanwhile, back in the barn, the calves are worked up the alley…

(Matt likes this job.)

And into the chute.

Once in the chute, they get vaccinated…

And tattooed.

(Typical kids.  Let them out of your sight for one second, and what do they do?  Run off and get a tattoo.  Crazy hooligans.)

The tattooing goes like this.  First, Clint trims the hair in the calf’s ear and then smears the green ink in the right spot.

While he is getting the calf’s ear ready, Mom is getting the tattoo gun ready.  She has to change the numbers to match the calf’s tag, so each animal has a unique tattoo.

This calf’s tattoo would read 8147W.  (It looks backwards, but when it goes into the calf’s ear, it reads correctly.)

After she loads the correct numbers in the tattoo gun, she hands it off to Clint who tattoos the calf.

Then the information (weight, tag, sex, etc.) is recorded and the calf is free to go.

When we’re really clicking, we average about 40 calves per hour, so it goes fairly quickly.  And the calves get a lovely mark on their face to show that they have been worked.  This is for the very rare, infrequent, uncommon, once-in-a-thousand head occurrence when the person running the chute, which happened to me be, misses the calf.  But like I say, that hardly ever happens.  But if it did, we would be able to tell which calf we need to bring back through.

So there is a little peek into a day of weaning calves.  Hope you enjoyed it!

Have a great day!

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