Monday, October 18, 2010

Weaning, Round 2

We weaned at my parents place last weekend. There were four of us horseback and my mom and sister were on a 4-wheeler to help gather the pasture.
The pairs were in a pasture that's about 1 mile wide by over 2 miles long, and we each take a section. I had the east side, and the below photo are some cows going by the well we get our drinking water at our house from.

The weather was beautiful, and we all really love our work. It was a great weekend!

We get everything bunched and head over this little rise and down to the pen. My dad and Kyle and can be seen on the right.

There's the pen. This set of corrals is a work in progress, and currently serves primarily as a stack corral to store hay in. But we are in the process of adding a set of cattle working pens on the far side, and have an alley and loading pen done. The pickups and horse trailers are parked in their locations on purpose, to prevent the cows from pushing on the wire fence.

My mom also snapped a few photos, including this series of a cow trying to get away and chase the dog. My horse and I look kind of funny here, but we are coming up out of a low spot to stop that cow.

My horse suffered a bad foot injury about five years, and was completely sound for the first time this fall. It was nice to ride a horse that wasn't lame!

You do not want to let a cow get past you at our outfit. If you do, you better go get her. Losing one cow could result in losing the whole bunch, which makes them that much harder to get in the next time. It also makes for a much longer day, because you have to re-gather and re-pen everyone, and like I mentioned, it's a lot harder the second time you try it.
If you do lose one cow, a single person will fall out and get her stopped and headed in the right direction again. After the rest of the bunch has been penned, everyone else will help and you'll put her in.

Down they go! Our cows aren't used to this set-up, and it's not always the easiest gate to hit with a bunch of cows, but we had plenty of help to make sure there weren't any problems.

Once they were penned, we would take a cut of the whole bunch and put them in the alley. You can see one cow in the back of the photo, and she's standing in the alley we put them in.

From that alley we sort the cows off and they go out a gate, into another pasture. You don't want to let a calf by, because if he gets out the gate, you're in charge of going to get him. It also makes everything take longer when you have to stop to gather one calf.

After sorting the cows off each bunch, we would load the calves in the waiting semi that you could see in early pictures. Since our corrals aren't compete we just load calves as we sort. If we had more corrals, we would just put the calves in another pen and load the truck when we were all done sorting. If we don't have enough calves sorted off for a specific pen in the cattle pot they just wait in the loading pen. It worked really well this year.

Holly made sure the cows didn't push on the panels at the end of the alley opposite from where we were sorting. You can see some of the sorted cows in the pasture beyond the semi the calves were loaded on. That is my brother's truck.

When we had enough calves to fill a compartment, we loaded them on the semi.

And when we were done we hauled the calves about 7 miles down the road to our house. It's about 2 miles cross-country. This works really well to wean because the cows aren't bawling around the house and the calves can't hear them bawling, so they just go to eating.

Here are the cows, who will hang around the corrals bawling for a couple days prior to forgetting about their baby and moving on.

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