Fall has come early here on the ranch. Most years, we don’t wean our calves from their moms until middle t0 late-September. However, with such a hot and dry summer, our summer pastures have become useless as a feed source. Rather than taking the feed wagon across to the pasture everyday, it’s more efficient to bring our cattle to pastures closer to home to feed them.
Weaning day starts early so we can get the cows and calves rounded up in the pasture and brought across the road. It’s all hands (and paws) on deck to block traffic on the roads and push the cattle through the pasture. e
Calves are usually weaned when they’re seven to eight months old. Age is not always a factor when weaning. Ranchers look at the condition of the cows and the calves before they make the decision to wean or not. Weaning too late can cause the cows condition to decrease and can be unhealthy. It is important that the cow recovers before the next calving season so she is ready to provide the best care for her new calf.
Once the entire herd is relocated closer to home, the calves are sorted away from their moms. The cows head back out to a pasture close to home and the calves stay back to be sorted. Bull calves and heifer calves are separated and put into different pens where they will be fed a grain ration. Weaning can be a dramatic time in both of the cows and calves life. To prevent added stress, we use a fence line weaning method. The calves are put into a lot and the cows are put in the pasture next to the lot. The cows and calves can see each other but cannot get to each other to nurse. After a few days, both the cows and calves lose interest in one another and are fully weaned.
Below is a video of Mo pushing a group of cows and calves to our sorting area. She’s always good for a helping hand.
Mo gently nips at the cattle in the rear to keep the herd moving forward.