After gathering the herd, we sort the cows back into the pasture and load up the calves to take them home. There are many ways to wean and we've found this works best for us. The cows will wander the catch pen where they last saw their calf for a day or so, but after that, they are happy to go back to eating grass. The calves do bawl for their mamas for a few days, but we immediately get them eating a silage/hay mixture and getting used to us. In a previous blog, I talk about one of the important jobs that I call "imprinting" or getting the cattle used to having humans around. Check it out here: Bad Weather? Work is not cancelled on a ranch!
Weaning time means that lots of work is ahead for the next few months. Calves in a pen need fed every day, and provided a dry place to lie down, as well as room to romp. They must be watched for signs of illness and we treat with antibiotics when signs of a secondary infection appear. Once winter arrives, the work really ramps up! As I get older, winter is less and less fun, but I still wouldn't change my life for anything! I love the cows and calves and I look forward to calving season each year. Weaning time is like harvest for grain crops. Our calves will end up as breeding bulls, breeding heifers, and the steers go to the feedyard.