May 30, 2013

Stealing Babies

As I’ve often mentioned, there are lots of emotional challenges running a cattle grazing property. One thing I don’t really look forward to is … weaning time!
Each year, just before winter, we have to take the calves away from their

Its very noisy

Its very noisy

mothers.

Going into winter, our dry season, is tough on all the stock but particularly lactating mothers. Mums need to eat a lot of grass to sustain themselves as well as feed a 250kg calf. Cows can quickly lose condition when the protein store in the grass depletes.

Calves in the yards

Calves in the yards

It’s better for cow and calf to be separated so we can provide the best care.
Having said all that … they don’t like it all!!!!

It’s very noisy…
The mothers stand around calling and calling to their calves and their calves call back night and day.

The cows glare whenever you come near, their eyes pleading “Please give me back my calf!”

And the poor things … their udders are bursting.

Please give me back my baby

Please give me back my baby

But after three days and three nights, it’s all over. The mums give up and we muster them to their winter paddock. The calves stay in the yards for a bit longer to make sure they are quite calm. Then they are released into a paddock near the house so we can keep a watchful eye on them.

All in all, it’s a rather traumatic experience for all concerned and I’m always glad

Bursting Udder

Bursting Udder

when it’s over. It’s hard to sleep with all that racket. At last it’s done … until next year. Sigh!

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