Cry Babies

Weaning cattle is a fun time on ranching operations. The calves you’ve worked so hard to raise are ready to go either to the feedlot or to market. It’s a rewarding time both mentally and financially.

For those of you with 35-year-old children still living at home, you’ll find the concept of weaning very useful.

Monte Hamilton sorts his cattle and TRH Ranch cattle (female calves into one area, male calves into another and mamma cows in yet another area) at the Rocky Point Grazing Association, about 60 miles north of Moorcroft, Wyo.

“Weaning” in the livestock world is a very necessary part of the production process. When calves get big enough to fend for themselves they are separated from the mamma cows. Each ranch weans at different times according to what works best for their cattle. This is usually between 6-9 months. A lot of bawling and hollering ensues from the calves and cows. A sad sight to see (and a sad chorus to hear), but the crying must be endured because weaning is good and necessary for the cattle.

Tom Hamilton loads the calves onto trucks and they are hauled home to either north of Osage or north of Lance Creek. The mother cows are left behind for a few days before being shipped home. This gives the cattle time to adjust to the separation of weaning.

It’s important to wean calves to reduce stress on the mother cow. Weaning allows the cow’s body to transfer the nutrition that was used for milk production back to normal body functions. This improves her condition and gets her ready for the next calf.

The Hamilton's prefer sorting, then hauling calves to another location because the cows aren't bawling near the corrals the calves are in, and the calves seem to settle in faster.

If you’ve just GOT to know more about weaning, here’s a great in-depth article. If you have no idea what some of the terminology means…well, too bad. Naw, just kidding. We won’t leave you in the dark. You can ask questions in the comment section below or on the RealRanchers Facebook page.

Calves from the TRH Ranch, north of Lance Creek, Wyo. They are being hauled a short distance to the ranch headquarters after being weaned on the opposite side of the place.

From RealRancher Heather Hamilton – Lance Creek, WY

6 thoughts on “Cry Babies

  1. I suspect weaning 35-year-old children still living at home is far more difficult and results in horrible bellowing and bawling. Not that I would know.

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