The final eight calves for our 2017 calf crop have had their green weaning clips installed and are well on their way through the process.
Soon the eight will be moved to the show barn away from their mothers and the clips will be removed. While in the show barn they will be pampered with as much grain and hay that they want. The veterinarian will be by in the next week to give an official vet check to all the critters we have weaned throughout the fall and to give the required BANGS ( Brucellosis) shot for each of the heifers.
Vaccination requirements. Brucellosis vaccination is required for all sexually intact female cattle 4 months of age and over. Calfhood vaccinations must occur between 4-12 months of age. Oregon does accept mature vaccinated cattle. A legible vaccination tattoo is required.
Brucellosis in a herd could render females to abort their calves instead of being able to deliver at full term. If we were to fore go the requirement, we would not be able to sell the animals as breeding stock and they would be slaughter only, hence the reason for getting the animals vaccinated before 12 months of age when they could start to reproduce.
Six more calves have gone through the green clip weaner process while in the pasture with their mothers. This group contains the celebrity twins Front and Back, along with two heifers #2 and #5, and two bulls #19 and #21.
We have already removed the clips and transported the group of six from the far side of the river to the their own pen in the show barn.
By having this group sequestered in the show barn, it gives me the opportunity to pamper them. They have all the sweet grass hay they can eat and the pelleted grass seed with molasses grain twice a day.
I have also been chopping apples for them to snack on between feedings.
It will not take very many days for the animals to graduate from this pen. The bulls and steers will be moved into the bull pen and the heifers will be shuffled in with the other three weaned heifers in their own pen.
In a couple weeks, the last group of calves will get the green nose clips inserted and the process begins again.
It was a big day for movement. First up, the two calves with the green weaning clips, #1 (Peach) and #18 (Respect) needed to have the clips removed before being moved away from their mother’s Sitka and Quiet.
While everyone was locked into the stanchions (headgates) and were contentedly munching on chopped apples and sweet hay, I removed the green clips from the calves and changed the gates in the barn to allow for Peach to travel from the cow/ calf side of the barn to the other side that has the two older heifers that were weaned last month. Peach wasn’t wild about being moved away from her dinner, but as soon as she was safely on the other side got a new portion and went right back to eating. I closed the gates behind her and she was securely in with her two roomies. This pen is smaller than the wide open pasture down into the woods where she had been with the mom’s, but opens up to a private barnyard between the barn and the shop with plenty of room for the three heifers. Continue reading
The five yearlings that had the green weaning clips put in their noses have been separated from their mothers and are learning how to eat hay out of the manger.
Full bales are placed along the manger with fluffed up bales on top. The yearlings learn to lift their heads up to slip into the stanchion to get to the food. Once they put their heads down, the stanchion slides to the closed position and locks their head in. By lifting the hay up for them the first day, they start to get the idea that the sounds and feel of the metal on their neck is not harmful. The one on the left has already figured that out and is not surprised or hesitant about letting the head gate close while he lowers his head to eat.
The five still have the green clips in their noses. As soon as they are comfortable with the stanchions, I will lock their heads in and slip the clip out of their nostrils.
This group is completely weaned from their mothers. There is no bellering or crying, no pacing of fences and no trauma. They are enjoying the chance to eat all the hay they want without adults bunting them away. They are also getting pelleted grass seed screenings and chopped up apples in their diet. The kittens playing in the barn spooked them on the first day but they are getting used to watching the antics.
The first 5 calves have gotten their new jewelry in the form of a green plastic clip that snaps into their nose.
This little clip lets the calves wean themselves while they hang out in the same pasture with their mothers who are able to comfort their babies while their milk dries up.
This handy-dandy tool completely alleviates the pacing of fence lines, the bawling babies, and the mothers who get worked up and try to jump across all lines to get to their calves. The calves are able to eat normally just not nurse.
After a few days the calves can be moved away from their mothers and have the clips removed. At that time, they will be moved into the show barn where I get to spoil them by feeding all the hay they can eat along with a mixture of grass seed screenings made into pellets with molasses and sliced apples.
The babies soon learn that I will take good care of them through the rest of the weaning process.
It has been quite a life for Tank, the little calf born to Chardonnay.
Our loaner herd of four cows had been happily grazing at the neighbor farm to assist the farmer manage the overgrown grass in the pastures around his place. That was 17 months ago.
Chardonnay was pregnant when we moved her to be loaned. She has had nine calves already and was well-seasoned in the art of delivering beautiful, healthy babies. With all the spring grass she could eat, she delivered a beast of a baby and we named him Tank. He was born on June 1st and weighed 87 lbs. He was the largest calf born from our herd in 2015. An he was born hungry, he thrived on the loaner farm with Chardonnay giving lots of milk and the continuing grass supply. Continue reading
With the assistance of our right-hand-helper, the last eight calves have had their green nose rings inserted. These last calves of the season are getting pretty big and we needed a little extra muscle to control the calves that are ranging upward to 800 lbs.
The mother cows have been doing an exceptional job of producing nourishing milk to their babies while they are also eating hay and grazing throughout the day. The moms are ready for the calves to stop nursing, besides they have the important task of giving nutrients to the babies that are already developing inside them.
In three days, we will again move the herd into the barn where we will separate the calves from the mothers. The mothers will be moved to the far field across the river where the grass has been growing and will be a good spot to hang out for up to a week. The calves will be loaded into the stock trailer for their first ride and brought over the river and across the road to the show barn where I will introduce them to sliced apples, grain and all the hay they can eat.
Many of these calves have already been spoken for and will be ready for sale as soon as they are eating well and have their vet check completed.
The last of the weaning is just another sign that the seasons are changing as we gear up for winter weather. Looking ahead, less than two months to go before we start seeing new calves from the mothers that were bred early.