Weaning Time Again
Cross Creek Cattle Company is in the process of weaning 10 calves right now. My mom surprised me by visiting the ranch. Her house is very close to the barn where we separate the calves from the mama cows. She got to enjoy the endless ballads that the calves sang to their mamas and the mamas sang to their calves. Needless to say, she did not sleep very well the first night of weaning.
It has been a couple of days now and the serenade has stopped. The mama cows have left their calves and rejoined the herd grazing in the bottom. The calves are adjusting to their new no-dairy diet.
Weaning time is a stressful time for both the cow and her calf. At Cross Creek Cattle Company we try to eliminate as much stress as possible. A stout pipe fence with cattle panel welded to it separate the calves from the cows. The cows can see, smell, and speak to one another. The calves just cannot nurse.
The calves are enjoying eating grass, which they have done for months. They just are not supplementing their diets with milk anymore. To help maintain their body condition during this time of adjustment, we feed them a very small daily ration of alfalfa pellets. Alfalfa is very high in protein grass. We start the calves on a small ration and slowly build up their daily allowance of the dehydrated grass to prevent bloat. Cows can bloat on alfalfa because it is so rich.
The calves also have their own mixture of kelp meal, stock salt, and diatomaceous earth. We continue to allow them to freely partake of this mineral supplement and natural de-wormer. It is self-limiting. They can only take what their body needs. Of course, we supply the calves with fresh clean water and hay.
Soon we will be able to return these calves back to the herd. Their mothers will welcome them back as adolescents; however, they will not be allowed to nurse. The cows’ milk supply will have dried up. There will always be one calf in the bunch who tries to resume nursing, but it is quickly kicked away. Calves will be calves.
Weaning time means that we decide how the calves are going to work for us. We will determine if we have any show heifers. We will sell some to other ranchers. We have some that we will keep to build up our herd. Of course, we also have our grass fed beef business. If you are interested in ordering delicious and nutritious grass fed beef, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (936)870-5792.