Weaning the Herd

They say you learn something new every day; and, if you listen to what people say I believe this to be true.  For example in my veterinarian science class, this is a discussion based class. We came across a topic that is relative to my home operation of beef cattle.  It was on the basis of a newer type of weaning calves. A nose guard that restricts calves from sucking on the udder of their mother, but does not inhibit them from eating grass, hay, or drinking water.

This is a great invention because the weaning process in the past has been very stressful for the farmer. The farmer has to worry about getting the herd up and then separating the cows from the calves. This may sound easy; however, the mothers do not like to leave their baby calves. Then once the farmer has separated the mothers and baby calves they like to test the fences of the corral that you have dividing them.  This new process of weaning would eliminate the separation process.


The old way of weaning is not only hard on the farmer; but, it is also hard on the herd as well. The cows would be poor eaters for the first part of weaning, because they would want to stand by the fence instead of being out and grazing in the pasture like they should. Then the calves would be on the other side and be doing relatively the same thing. They would bawl for their mothers to come help them even though the separation is inevitable.


I have only found two cons for this new process of weaning. The first one being that you have to get the cows up twice. You have to get them up the first time to insert the nose guard into the calves’ nose and the second time to remove the guards. The other con which is probably the biggest factor for most farmers is this new method requires you buy the nose guards. This is the biggest because most farmers won’t want to spend more money; they typically like to have a more conservative approach.

As you can see this new way of weaning calves has many pros and not many cons. There are always hybrids of this process too, because you can do it the old way by separation. Then if you have a calf that is still sucking, you can put one of these guards on to keep them from being able to suck. This was just a new and interesting idea that I heard about this past week.

Let me know if you have any tips or feedback on this process of weaning!



One thought on “Weaning the Herd

  1. I’m a True Supporter! We have a small herd of Irish Dexters. This nose guard was used on our Bull for weaning. And I give it credit for his extra-docile behavior. He tries pushing buttons. Don’t get me wrong. He’s shown us where we had to make some modifications with gate hinges. But he stayed in his area, never crossing over. He seems more receptive to the ‘line of respect’ we share. And his health, in general, received a really great foundation as a result, in my opinion.

    Using these weaning nose guards will be the only way we’ll wean our calves.

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