Why We Fence-Line Wean Our Calves and Why You Should, Too

| 4/15/2016 11:15:00 AM

Tags: raising livestock, cattle, cows, calves, baby animals, Tammy Taylor, Texas,

Aaaah, spring. The grass is turning green, the temps are getting warmer and homesteads all across America are weaning calves! We like to wean our calves at around 7 months of age, but there are times when we wean just a bit earlier or later, depending upon circumstances.

If a cow's body condition starts to decline because a large calf is nursing off her during harsh weather conditions, such as drought or extreme cold, we may wean as early as 5 months. Or, if we have a batch of calves weaning at a certain time, we may hold one of the older ones as late as 9 months of age so they can all wean together. But, as any animal caregiver knows, there's more to weaning than just separating the calf from its dam. When we wean calves, our preparation tasks must start several weeks earlier.

Starting early weaning calves

Positioning the Herd

We like to practice rotational grazing with our cattle. We have our pastures fenced and cross-fenced into paddocks so that we can put them all into one paddock at a time, restricting other pastures to allow the grass to rest and recover before moving the herd to a new paddock and fresh grass. This allows pastures to be more fully utilized and the grass stays healthier because it's allowed a rejuvenation period between grazing times.

When we know we'll be weaning soon, we make sure the pasture adjoining the weaning pen is where we move the herd. This gets everyone used to the new area and offers lots of healthy, fresh grass. This is typically done about 2-3 weeks in advance of weaning.

More Effective Immunizations

working calves

6/4/2016 9:38:25 AM

Interesting article. 'and on the eighth ( 8th ) day God looked down on his planned paradise and said,' " I need a Caretaker," so God made a Farmer.

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