On Monday, we separated the calves from their mothers to begin the weaning process.
We separate the spring calves from their mothers when they’re around 8 months old. At this age they don’t rely on their mother’s milk for nutrition, it’s mostly for comfort. As you can see in the video, the calf is almost as big as his mom!
We allow the calves to nurse this long because it not only gives them plenty of time to grow over summer by having mom’s milk to supplement their grass diet, it also allows them to learn how to graze from their mom.
We separate the calves from the cows using an electric fence that allows them to be in close proximity but eliminates physical contact and prevent nursing.
We’ve found this method causes the least amount of stress on both the cow and the calf because they can see each other and remain together as a herd. It only takes 2 days before everyone calms down and the cows and calves are acting like nothing ever happened!