Weanling

It’s that time of year when our neighbors wish we lived just a little further away from them.

Time to wean the calves.

The process starts with all of the cow-calf pairs up in the barnyard. Olivia mans the gate, opening it when a cow comes near as Matt comes behind shooing the cow out into the pasture. With one stubborn cow remaining, Olivia managed to “gate cut” her meaning that she opened the gate enough for the cow to get through and then shut the gate as the cow ran through, cutting her calf off behind her.

And then the bellering ensues.

All. Night. Long.

And the next day, too.

The cows beller at their babies, sounding like a mother in a mall whose child has hidden from her amongst the clothing racks one too many times. They are mad and they mean business. Their tone of moo sounds like, “Junior, get your self back over to this side of the fence right now or so help me, you’re grounded mister!” The calves are a little more relaxed, more interested in the good hay and corn that they’ll be fed now. Now, 24 hours later, the bellering is more sporadic and no longer the constant barrage of last night.

We try to wait to wean until the weather has turned cold and most people are no longer sleeping with their windows open. But I know, even with all the doors and windows shut, the bellering penetrates. Fortunately we have understanding neighbors.

I can’t tell you what the calf’s name is in this picture, because I chose a rather stupid naming scheme this year that involved the dead presidents (or their wives). Matt just walked by the computer and said, “That’s the black cow’s baby.” He knows his cows. The amazing thing about what’s-his-name is how huge he is. He looks like we should be butchering him yet this year, not a year from now.

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4 Responses to Weanling

  1. karl says:

    wow he does look huge and ready to eat. how old is he? you have some beautiful animals.

  2. AEW says:

    I, the city slicker, am learning so much from your blog. Question–how much longer would the calves nurse for if you didn’t wean them? They would just probably taper off rather than stop cold turkey, eh?

  3. Patti says:

    The geese are so pretty – why am I so intimidated by them? :) ~SCF Because most geese(Rambo included) have less than pleasent personalities and tend to chase you even if your the hand that feeds them!! :):)

  4. Karl – Thanks! He’s about 6 months, he was born in April.aew – the cow would dry up before having her next calf (due next April). The issue becomes the amount of hay that’s required to keep the cow in condition while nursing a calf through the winter weather. Also if you run a bull with your herd, which we do, you have to worry about any heifer calves you have getting bred too soon. Glad you asked!