Friday, June 15, 2012

A Quick Lesson in the Art of Calf Weaning

It's weaning time. Weaning is really quite important in the life of a cattleman... not to mention in the life of the weaners!
Weaners, for those of you who are wondering, are young cattle - they were baby calves last Spring, and for the last couple of months the 'boys' here have been working their way through separating them all from their mamas and teaching them to eat hay and behave like good boys and girls. (Or steers and heifers - to be bovinely correct....and, yes, I did just make that word up!) This teaching - or educating, as it's called in these parts - is what's important to the humans in the equation. Every morning and evening for at least a couple of weeks, the weaners are moved in and out of the stock yards overnight, to get them very accustomed to being handled by people on horseback, and cattle dogs. Well educated weaners = much less stress for me soothing jangled and frustrated men if the mustering goes bad due to uneducated cattle racing all over the place!

Their days are spent in a large yard, with big, tasty bales of hay....which they munch on happily.... until a strange creature comes to the fence....

then they need to investigate.
"What are you, and will you bring more hay?"

"Or, is it time to go to bed?"

"Oh, OK, this dude on the horse is here to tuck us in."

Seems that this educating thing works pretty well... Alan has just come through the gate (down the fence there) and these babies are already making their way to the stockyard... Or perhaps they just got bored with looking at the odd creature standing on the rail, taking their picture.

*It would be a terrible thing if I gave the impression that the work of a cattleman is only done by men! Some of the best cattlemen I know are women! It just happens, that around here, there are a lot of men who love cows, and while I love them too, my skills are put to better use doing other things!

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