September 22, 2011

Weaning Part III - Weaning has begun...

Saturday we officially began weaning our calves.  Our plan for the weekend was messed up by the weather.  I have learned 1 thing with farming/ranching the weather will mess everything up all the time and there is NOTHING I or anybody else can do about it.  So we called a time out, huddled around the QB and came up with a new play.  I do live in the land that bleeds Husker Red and Saturday was game day.....  Original plan meet my sister at the pasture at 8 am, with horses saddled and ready to go, wean and work those calves then Sunday wean another pasture.  Woke up Sat morning to thick fog, and I don't mean the fog that just makes it a little hazy I mean the fog that you can't see 10 feet in front of you!!  So we decided that to wait for the fog to lift.  At 9 am gave up on fog leaving and saddled horses anyway. 

Coal - waiting to get in the trailer
We got the cows and calves gathered in the catch pen and sorted off all the calves and loaded them onto the trailers. 
Gathering in the Fog. 

We haul the calves to a near by dairy that has a ground scale and we weigh each trailer load of calves.  We want to know what our calves weigh in order to make feed and other management decisions.  We also sorted off the 2 bulls and brought them back home.  They have been with their ladies for 90 days now it is time to go back to the "bachelor" pasture for the next 9 months.  Must be nice to only have to work 3 months out of the year.  After the calves and bulls were loaded we turned the cows back out to the pasture.  Once we weigh the calves we take them to my husbands boss' place to work the calves.  Unfortunately we do not have good enough facilities (our work in progress) to make this task as stress free as possible and his boss' facilities are really nice. 

Once all the calves are unloaded, Mark and I ran them through the chute and gave them their first weaning vaccine and wormed them.  We use a chute to hold the calves because it is safer for the calves and us and it allows us to give the vaccine correctly. 
The boss' nice hydraulic chute.  We are able to
adjust it so that it fits the calves to safely
restrain the calves.

They are only in the chute for about 10 seconds and before they are released to rejoin their friends.  The wormer is a topical that we spray on their backs (gets rid of both internal and external parasites).  Once the calves are worked we loaded them back on the trailers and they traveled the final 5 miles of the day back to our place.  We are fortunate enough to have a big open front shed to put the calves in.  Once they were unloaded a fresh bale of grass hay and a tank full of fresh clean water was waiting for them in the shed.  They will spend a couple of days in the shed before we give them access to the pen in front of the shed.  They will get to spend a week or so in the pen and shed before we move them to the bigger pens.  We want to make sure they are adjusted to their new environment before we put them in a bigger area.   After we finished on Saturday with this group of calves we had to huddle up again and re-do the plan for Sunday.  We even got done soon enough to watch the 2nd half of the husker game on the TV instead of listening to it on the radio!!  The pasture we were going to wean on Sunday is on a minimum maintenance road which means when it rains you can only get down the road by 4-wheeler, horse or your own 2 feet.  So we will have to get them next Saturday.
This steer was in the chute a little longer so I could get his picture.  The chute has a neck extender on it to prevent the calf from throwing his head around and risking injury to himself or me (remember the picture from a few weeks ago, my cheek bone still hurts).  It also gives us good access to his neck to give the vaccine (or other medications) properly. 

No comments:

Post a Comment