Weaning is a fun time of year for me. Perhaps not for the calves as they’ve been taken from their mothers for the first time!
Weaning is much the same for calves as it is for human babies when mum decides it’s time to no longer feed from breast or bottle. Or when it comes time to give up that dreaded dummy! (Oh boy, I can I remember that.)
For calves, being ‘weaned’ means having them in the yards for about four or five days, depending on how long it takes them to settle, become used to me, as I plod around the yards, singing, and talking to them and mostly, how long it takes them to stop wanting their mum. Once we split the cow and calf unit, we don’t want them to get mixed up together again because all of the hard work we’ve already done will be wasted.
So for the time they are in the yards, we feed them hay and they have as much water as they need.
By the time they’re ready to head out into the paddock, they’re calm, they’re not frightened of people (because we give them what they need, hay and water) and they’re well on the way to making gorgeous cows, who will have lovely calves.