Fence-line Weaning

In the Past

We have a sturdy pipe corral that is made of drill pipeline tubes. For weaning, we would put that babies in the corral and not focus much on the mother's location. Back in the same pasture, move to another location, whatever fit our current pasture needs. The corral needed to be set up for water, haul in the creep feeder and a round bale ring.

As a consequence, we tied up the corral for several days, the babies feet got sore from the corral rocks and MORE IMPORTANTLY, we altered the mind-set of the calves: permanently.

The weaned calves were much more flighty, panicked easily, and had a stampede mentality. Turning them out of the corral after weaning, we watched anxiously to see if they were going to hit the end of the pasture and just keep in going. Birds, deer, or even a loud noise would send them into the gather, run and stampede-until-the-fence mode.

Certain groups were worse than others depending on what they experienced when they were in the solid corral, but moving them on horseback for the next several months could pose a real challenge.

In the Present

Now we fence-line wean. Cows on one side, babies on the other. The calves are placed in a seven (7) acre pasture with a few trees, a shed, water, and a creep feeder. The mothers are on the outside in directly adjacent pastures. Depending on the size of the group, the cows can be on multiple sides of the weaning pasture.

The fence is an older 5 wire barbed fence with an interior electric line.

These photos were taken within a couple hours of the initial separation. Both the cows and calves locate each other. They do a little walking around the perimeter, but not extreme.

As the days pass, the cows come up and check on their babies in the morning and again at night and then go back to grazing.

The process takes 3 to 5 days, same as the corral weaning.

As a Result

As a result, the corral is free for working other sets of cattle, the babies feet are fine and MORE IMPORTANTLY, we maintain the mind-set of the calves.

They are still calm. The first day we move them on horseback out of their pasture, the calves are new to driving without their mothers, but are not in a panick, stampede mode.

Because of fence-line weaning, the calves are on track to becoming an easily manageable addition to our herd.