Hay & Forage Forum banner
1 - 20 of 38 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,183 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Going to see how good my fences are. The articles I have read through make no mention of a recommended time frame to reintegrate the animals back together and not have the calves go back to nursing. Was curious if anybody has done this.
 

·
An ounce of doing is worth a pound of talk
Joined
·
1,177 Posts
I think you would have trouble with the calves right across the fence from the cows. Dad talks about when he was cow foreman for Warren Livestock back in the 60's he once pulled the calves off the cows and moved them out to pasture. Some of the old timers told him he was nuts, but he had not problems; those calves were lost and they were moved far enough away that they could not hear the cows. I really think you are going to have troubles with them just on the other side of the fence. You know if a cow can get her head threw the fence the rest of the body follows.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,449 Posts
I did that one time by accident. That cow was fine for a few hours, then from 6 pm to 7 am she went nuts. She didnt go more than 5 minutes without bawling and carying on. I think everyone in the neighborhood was up all night...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,498 Posts
It works but you will want to put up a couple of hot wires and wear ear plugs if they are by the bedroom window. Dad wasn't happy with me :)

It's the cows that give you trouble, not the calves. Calves are like teenagers experiencing freedom from an overbearing mother. You will get a few that resume nursing if the cow hasn't dried up. If you go about a month you should be alright.
 

·
Hay Master
Joined
·
1,070 Posts
Fence-line weaning of calves is commonly practiced in our area by livestock growers who want to market their calves in special feeder sales. We have weaned our 8- to 9-month old calves across five-strand barb wire fence from their mothers numerous times. The process is rather simple and usually problem free if done correctly. Here are a few tips to follow if using fence-line weaning.

1. Have a straight-line fence with no corners where calves can bunch up.

2. Have a sturdy fence and tight barb wires.

3. Vaccinate the calves several weeks before weaning to reduce stress.

4. Have the cows and calves in the same pasture for a few weeks so the calves know their way around and where to find water.

5. At weaning time, leave the calves in the familiar pasture and move the mommas to the adjacent pasture.

6. If possible, leave an older cow that doesn't have a calf involved in the weaning process with the weaning calves to serve as a leader for the calves. This could be a cow that has a much younger calf.

7. Feed the calves alfalfa hay or some other high protein feed to keep their stomach full and keep them gaining weight.

8. Wean calves for at least 45 days before marketing in a special feeder sale.

If you keep the calves stomach full, they likely won't bawl more than one night. Their mommas will continue bawling for several days and nights until the pains of losing their baby and of a full bag subside.

If planning to send the calves to a local auction, weaning the calves with no promise of a greater return may not be worth the time, labor, and extra expense. The following link contains several articles on how to wean calves, including fence-line weaning. If planning on marketing calves in a special feeder sale, contact the marketing association a number of months ahead of marketing time to get information on their requirements, including weaning date, market date, vaccinations required, when to bring the calves to the auction before sale day, and any other requirements.

https://www.google.com/search?q=texas+A%26M+publications+on+fence+line+weaning+calves&oq=texas+A%26M+publications+on+fence+line+weaning+calves&aqs=chrome..69i57j33.24455j1j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
 

·
Junior Member
Joined
·
1,312 Posts
We just started weaning and hauling home today. Takes us 3 solid days of roundup, sort and load, haul home. You could kind of call it fence line weaning as the calves are in corral pens. The cows get unloaded in a smaller pasture but the gates are open so the can come up next to the corral pens where the calves are at. 3 days after the last bunch is weaned usually most of the main crying is overwith and we chase the cows out to a pasture 1/2 mile away from the yard. Sure is noisy the first few nights but gets quieter in a few days. Can always tell when a neighbor weans if the wind is right you can hear cows and calves bawling for miles.

I envy anyone that can successfully wean across a barb wire fence. We'd have calves that'd crawl through and I know for certain our cows would tear that fence to hell to get back with their babies. Nothing worse or more stressful on calves that having to rewean them once they get back with their mothers.
 

·
Member
Joined
·
3,916 Posts
We wean with our catch pen. The cows and calves can see each other. One or two may even nurse if they get their heads through the panels and the momma lines up just right. I believe we are breaking the emotional bond more than the milk. After four days the Momma cows have all quit sleeping by the pen. We then move the calves to another pasture. Momma cows are not walking the pasture looking for babies. We keep a different cow or two with the calves. The calves do not really seem that upset by the process.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
198 Posts
I use quiet wean and they work great. Calves dont fuss because they are still with momma. after 10 days take them out and cow is usually dry by then. draw back is you catch them twice.
Do you realize what you've done to those calves????? :eek: You've scarred then for life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :angry:

Don't come cryin' to me if they all become interior designers :lol:

Forehead Nose Cheek Lip Eyebrow
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
399 Posts
I have a good pen and 50 head 600 weights brake a steel post. Not new steel as it is pump column in 4 foot pieces and it broke at the threads were the 2 pieces are screwed together. I would put it up against any green lodge pole pine ones I could buy here. I was in the hospital with major gallbladder trouble so I don't know what all happened to spook them.

No big deal with cows on the other side. I have seen cows or the calves travel miles looking to get together. Cows will stay in the field they last saw the calf at and you can take the calf anywhere if you have a pen it cannot get out of. But as farmersamm pointed out I could of scared them for live.

The majority of calves leaving California are pulled and hauled to the auction on sale day,loaded that night to end up somewhere east when they next get off the truck. I can see having trouble on the other end. Now all the auction are pushing give a 2nd round of shots and wean 45 days. That costs money and lately with poor years to save cows calves have to hit the road sooner rather than latter.

Now the year I was sick we had feed to spare keep the calves a extra 2 or 3 months put lbs on and all was good. But this year they had to go again save cows. Cause I cannot go buy just any cows they need to be foot hill abortion and annplasmoses exposed or you are 3 years getting them to have the next calf if they don't die of annplas.

So is it fence line weaning when its a steel corral fence keeping them apart rather than barbwire? An they all know what hay and a water trough is before they leave the cow. So I am not changing what works for me till the dollars say so. But I would like to wean before sale day, good chance to spend time with heifers and make them pass the extended attitude test. But some years it doesn't happen that way.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
198 Posts
All my stupid comments aside :lol: I'm as interested as anyone in this.

K'kins has been really uptight about getting the calves off the momma's. Her feeling is that it's taking too much from the Momma to nurse, and carry, at the same time. I've even built her a set of panels to close off part of the pasture beyond the creek so that we could keep the calves within sight of the house if weaned. The crossing is narrow enough to close it off.

I've always just pulled, and loaded, them at about 400ish pounds, sometimes a bit more if I get tied up with other stuff.

I really don't have a good idea how long it takes before the cow will stop lactating. Or whether they will start nursing again if the calves are put back with the cows. We don't have a large enough place to keep them separate for any longer than the time it would take to wean. We only have 400 acres, and a good part of that is in 2 separate locations across the county line. Can't put livestock in the far locations because they will grow wings (pretty sad commentary on society, ain't it). And one 80 is strictly a hay meadow, can't graze it. Cross fencing is out because of water issues.

We did have a calf separated at birth, and she somehow got under the water gap, and wound up in the brush along the creek. We kept hearing it bawl for days, and couldn't place where it was coming from, thinking it might be from across the highway. The other animals were in the dry lot all this time. We never noticed any cows looking to where we eventually found the calf. K'kins found it hiding in the brush when she was out walking. I figure it might have been about 5ish days we heard her, before K'kins found her. How she survived is beyond me.

Anyways, I brought her up, after we finally got ahold of her. Placed her in the lot with the others, and she went up to a whiteface that did have a bag, but the whiteface wouldn't let her nurse. We were sure it was the Momma.

So K'kins brought her into an area behind the back gate, and hand milked her. The whiteface would occasionally come to the fence and make a low sound, you know what I mean. We attempted a few times to bring the whiteface into the small area, but again she wouldn't take the calf.

So, cut to the chase...…….it seems IIRC that the whiteface started to dry up after about 2 weeks. So that would have maybe been close to 3 weeks actual time, considering the calf had been lost for about near a week after birth. (one thing that must have happened was an initial nursing, because the calf was healthy, and probably got colostrum). We never figured it out. Might have been that the separation broke the bond...….dunno. But I really can't take that as accurate information because of the circumstances.

I looked up some stuff that might be relevant to the discussion.

https://www.beefmagazine.com/mag/beef_weaning_twostep

https://articles.extension.org/pages/39469/how-long-should-you-wean-a-calf-for-before-placing-it-back-on-the-same-pasture-with-its-pregnant-mot
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,982 Posts
I have been fence line weaning for the last maybe 10 years, (use to just wean on the way to the truck/trailer before).

I move calves to a pen about 1/2 acre in size, fence is 4 2x6s on 8 foot center (4x4 posts), with one strand of electric on calf side. Two days it is rather noisy, by 3rd day mom's start heading off to graze. Also, calves have been on a creep feeder before separation (along with RB feeder with mom), that they were use to me (or someone else), putting new feed in every night and morning. Heck, the calves would come up from the pasture to eat without mom's most of the time, with the creep feeder.

Larry
 
  • Like
Reactions: Tim/South

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,183 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
12 hours of bellowing and all is well. today will be 48 hrs. Calves spent last night outside while the rest of their group was bedded inside. other than that calves could care less. There are only 2 calves this year. Have not decided how long to keep them separate but thinking at least 4 weeks before putting them back together.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,183 Posts
Put the herd back together Saturday and everybody is good, no attempt to go back to nursing. Ended up with only doing one, week after putting them out I brought the black one(not the one in picture)in to milk and left the dun one on pasture with the steer. Brought the other heifers in early as I felt bad forcing them to slop around in the mud.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,183 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
This years attempt was a failure. Had 5 calves separated for 5 weeks within 15 min one went right back to nursing. Mom did not like it and was hoping that would end it. No, within an hour 3 of the 5 were back at it. Not setup to redo the process this time of the year, going to put the rings in now.

Which ones have you had the best luck with?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
443 Posts
If a calf is determined enough and mom don't mind they will nurse with a ring or flap in without too much issue.

I weaned calves off in late October and the few retained heifers I kept back from the sale barn will stay separated until breeding time next July. Even then have to keep an eye on them to make sure they dont steal milk.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,183 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
If a calf is determined enough and mom don't mind they will nurse with a ring or flap in without too much issue.

I weaned calves off in late October and the few retained heifers I kept back from the sale barn will stay separated until breeding time next July. Even then have to keep an eye on them to make sure they dont steal milk.
That is what my research found as well. I'm hoping they don't. I have some ordered and time will tell. Not sure why this year is different. The only thing I did different was this year I kept only the calves together and last year everybody but the cows. Not sure if that would make a difference. Will find out next year.

We're somewhat limited on space and where I have running water so really hoping to keep together but, yes I may have to separate if rings don't work. This will be the first year of not having to carry water, looking forward to that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,982 Posts
I had one heifer that I had this problem with, put a ring in her nose until it worn off (and she had her own calf). Other cows were dry when I took the remaining part out of her nose. Next year she was back to stealing (nursing), while raising her own calf, put another ring in her nose. She didn't get the chance to wear this one out, sent her down the road at calf weaning time. Seems some are just hard wired on nursing perhaps. ;)

Larry
 
  • Like
Reactions: Tim/South

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,183 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thought I would add onto this thread. Borrowed the water tank for a different project so decided to send the cows to the furthest pasture and keep the calves at the barn. Let me tell you, I much prefer the fence line weaning even if we do have to listen to them. The main perimeter fence (4 wire barb) is keeping them in but the temporary fence is no match (single strand electrified twine). Been over a week and they are still pissed. There are 5 cows and have gotten themselves into 2-3 different groups.

I believe fence line weaning is considerably less stressful based on what I saw. Calves seemed stressed and cows most definitely stressed pacing the fences for days.

Our fence line weaning consists of just 2 strands of electrified tape or twine splitting the barnyard in 2. Each group can go to pasture as they want. Zero issue with anybody going through it.

Next year we will be fence line weaning.
 
1 - 20 of 38 Posts
Top