Saturday, May 5, 2012

Weaning Day

Yesterday started out to be such an idyllic day for the bovines, peacefully grazing in the front yard. Little did they know, life was about to change forever.
It  was Weaning Day.
This is a calf weaner. It gets inserted into the nose of the calf. The weaner creates a barrier so the calf can't get a grip on the teat to nurse. The little plastic points make it uncomfortable for the cow when he attempts to nurse, so she pushes him away. With this method, the calf gets to remain with his mother during weaning, less stressful than separation. We have to wean the year-old calves now so the pregnant cows get a couple months rest and can produce colostrum for their new calves, expected in July.
This is Lindy's huge nose, in which the weaning ring will be inserted. The plastic is somewhat flexible and will be twisted to enlarge the opening to slip it into his nostrils, but if you compare the width of his nostrils to the opening in the weaner you can see why I have been dreading this task.
Lindy is easy to halter and lead, so we tied him to a gate and immobilized him with another gate. Last time I tied him to a gate he got a bath and lots of treats - not so bad --so he was totally mellow about it.
Rog  inserted the weaner while I held Lindy still.  We needed all our hands for this job, so no photos of the actual insertion. It was surprisingly easy once we got Lindy tied in place.
I am sure it is a bit uncomfortable and weird-feeling at first.  Lindy tried to shake it off and back out of it, but it wasn't going anywhere.
Jitterbug was a a bit harder to tie up - she isn't really halter trained (must work on that) but her nose is so much smaller and  now we knew what we were doing, so, it was very quick and easy to insert.  She was not happy about it, though, poor baby.
Sad Lindy, not a baby any more.  It reminded me of when my daughters gave up their pacifiers.

Now the challenge is to make sure the cows do not get mastitis as they dry off. I  rubbed cooling Udder Relief balm on LaFonda last night, which she seemed to appreciate, but when I touched Lariat's udder, she kicked me.  I am more worried about Fonda because Jerseys  are bigger milk producers, and judging from that butterball calf of hers, she has been producing a lot! 


Unknown said...

Those poor babies...My mom's family had Moens Dairy in Bemidji and they had Jerseys. I really enjoy ready your posts. Keep them coming.

Marcia said...

Are the calves going to the 4Hers?

Maria said...

Where did you purchase the nose weaning rings?