Wean Flaps

The last quarter of our herd was preg tested today.  So was Brandon’s little bunch and a neighbor’s.  I got there just as they were finishing up with Brandon’s… and good timing too, since he is trying something I’ve been wanting to do for a couple of years!

Here’s our neighbor, with a helping hand from The Good Doctor, applying it.

weanWith a twist and a squish… it looks like this.

quiet weanThis is a weaning tool.  Called by various names, these “paddles”, temporarily placed in the nose of a calf, will wean the calf in the next few days.  Twisted like a bread tabs, they provide a physical barrier to nursing.  Now I’ve seen things like this for milk cow calves before… but they were metal monstrosities from the early days… not a lightweight plastic, reusable nose flap!

Studies show that weaned calves, those that are allowed to stay close to momma, are less stressed than those that lose milk and momma at the same time.  These calves are turned back out with their mothers, but are unable to latch on to a teat, forcing the calf to wean itself.  Supposedly there is less stress and less sickness.

In 4-7 days, the calves are run back through, the tabs are removed and the calves hauled away.  Hopefully, they will accept their new status quietly and easily.

Debate is out about which is more stressful, abrupt weaning or running them through the chute twice in one week.  I’m still leaning towards running them through the chute.  It’s fast and easy and over with!  I’m thrilled Brandon is trying this… and I’m hoping if it works for him, it might work for the rest of our herd as well!

weaned calf



Wean Flaps — 6 Comments

  1. Pingback: Questions and Answers – October 2015 Edition |

  2. Very interesting! Your consistency in showing friends the very interesting ranch activities are most interesting! Thank you..I (and sometimes “we. As I share them with Neil such as this morning’s.) enjoy your site daily!

  3. Interesting! They can still eat grass? I guess putting their head down kind of sweeps the thing up and out of the way, while pushing their noses under mom pushes the barrier down and into the way. Close?

  4. Oh I do so hope it works to be honest. There will still be the stress on the mothers a couple of days after the calves leave, but I think this could be so much less stressful.

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