Today we took advantage of the nice weather and dry roads to wean the calves out of the Big Trails herd. It was a family affair. Megan and the kids helped me with the whole thing. The past few years we have been using the QuietWean nose flaps that wean the calves off their mother’s milk before you take them away from each other. We have loved it, but this year all the snow pushed us later than we wanted to be so we just brought them down while we have good weather.
First, we prepared the corral with mineral, hay, and water so that they would have everything they needed when they arrived. Then it was up the mountain to gather the cows. Once gathered, we sorted the calves from the cows. At one point, the cows got the gate back open and we had to repeat this step, but they sorted really well both times.
We loaded our calves in the horse trailer and headed down the mountain. We didn’t let them go to their feed right away, though. Since they were already loaded, we took them to the home place to get a weaning weight. This weight helps to tell us how well their mothers are raising them and which calves we should keep for replacements. In the past, it has just been Megan and I doing the weighing while the kids played, but not today.
Megan put them onto the scale one at a time. I weighed them, then Lorelei recorded their weights. She still needs a little bit of help, but she’s getting better with her numbers all the time and recorded them all correctly. Her brother then let them off the scale. He had to open the gate, let them off, and close the gate before Megan loaded the next one. Quinlan used any time he had between calves to practice dribbling his basketball so it worked out well for him.
It was a good day for it, beautiful weather and the help of the whole family. It’s easy to enjoy our lifestyle and where we live on days like this.
by Brandon Greet