Weaning Calves

20140911_104011To many people this may look like a scene from the movie Silence of the Lambs. This is really a new idea for our farm and the first year we have tried these new Greenies. They are officially called calf weaners. The simple nose clip is inserted in the nostrils of the calf. The green ring gets in the way of the calf as it tries to nurse from its mother while still being able to eat and drink water.

We have found that this method is much less stressful on the calf and the mother than the way we used to wean. Before, we would have bawling calves on one side of the farm and bawling mothers on the other side. There was much pacing of fence lines and upset animals. By using the Greenies, the babies are weaned from milk while still eating hay and grazing side by side with their mothers. No bawling, no upset.

About a week after inserting the Greenies, the babies are separated from their mothers and the device is removed. By that time the babies are ready to devour large amounts of hay without hesitation. The mothers have already started to dry up by this time and show no discomfort at the removal of their children.

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