Friday, October 15, 2010
Okay, more on the easy-weaner today.
Easy-weaner, easy-weaner, easy-weaner!!
Sorry, that is just sooo hilarious. But now that it's out of my system, let me tell you how we do this. We wean the babies every fall because they have to move on from Mama. When they do, they better be okay with just hay and grain, because there won't be any milk served. Once we sell them, they are off to their next location, the feed lot.
So in order to get them free from mama's teet, you can simply separate the cow and calf leaving the cow to wonder what happened to her baby and the calf to wonder where his mom went. This is usually quite stressful on both cow and calf. They both moo and bawl for each other for days. Sometimes, the cows or the calfs organize a mutiny and escape from their pen, leading us on a unexpected and eventful round-up.
Or, instead of having to separate the pair, you can use these nifty contraptions--the easy-weaner. We tried them last year for the first time and we were very happy with the results. The babes get to be with mom--lessening the anxiety between the pair--and they still get weaned. Some rancher was really thinking on these things.
First, we round up all the cows and calfs, then separate the calfs from the cows. We then run the calfs through a squeeze chute.
Justin then inserts the large, hard, plastic, yellow weaner thingy in the nostrils.
And Randy Sue gives them their dose of vaccine.
Then they are all set, ready to go.
We release the calf, and take them back to their mommy. They'll run to one tit, try to nurse, and have this plastic thing blocking their mouth. So they run to the other side and try another--same result. Frustrating, I'm sure, but at least they can be with mom.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Baby Cows and a Stinker
So, I had this blog about us weaning the baby cows all ready to go. We used these things we call easy-weaners.
Not weiner, you sick-o, I said weaner.
The whole contraption is a perfect example of the sense of humor most ranchers have to have. You see, you put these big yellow tags in the baby cows' nostrils and then they can't nurse because the tag gets in the way of their mouth. It's kind of hilarious and it's much nicer than just ripping the babies from their mothers' udders unexpectedly leaving them to bawl and moo for days on end. With the easy-weaner, (okay, maybe I really like saying that) they still get to be with mom, they just can't get their mouth on the milk so they eventually learn to survive on grass alone.
But. . I can't find the camera with the photos of the big day. It's one of the side-effects of no longer having my own working camera--the blog lags as I locate, borrow, use, return, and re-locate the ranch camera. A shiny, new, Gretta-only camera is on the way. I have high hopes of the blog becoming full of beautiful ranch photos and funny anecdotes at that time (yes, maybe a little like Lauren and I's hero, the Pioneer Woman, but no where near as over-achieving).
So, until I find the camera, I'm posting some pictures of another easy-weaner, our baby number one--Peyton--on a supper ride this summer. Luckily, she's been weaned for a while now and we didn't have to put anything in her nostrils to make it happen. She is a ham. I guess that might be from hanging out with a staff of 25 kids around 20 years old all summer. Thanks, Calvin, for the great photos of our little stinker.