A stress-free way to wean young calves comes to Heather’s Idaho ranch.
|This is what nose flaps look like. This is our heifer “Rocket” with her flap in place.|
In nature, without human intervention, calves are weaned by their mothers, who kick them off before the next calf is born.The big calf still follows along and stays with the cow, never losing the comfort and security of her presence. He may still try to nurse for a few days, but the cow won’t let him, and he resigns himself to weaned status.
Calves are very stressed when separated from their mothers, and stress can lead to immune suppression and vulnerability to disease, especially if the stress of weaning is coupled with bad weather or a long transport when newly-weaned calves are sold. It always pays to try to reduce stress on calves, but this can be a challenge sometimes.