Before weaning we want to ensure the calves immune system is up to snuff.
Weaning is stressful for calves, not because they need the milk. At this point they are 6-7 months old and are actually only getting 1/4 – 1/2 cup of milk per day from the cow. But it is a time of change. None of us like change, calves don’t particularly like it either. So before weaning we bring all the cow/calf pairs into the corral and we give booster shots of the vaccines they received during spring processing.
This is also time consuming, as each group of cows needs to be moved closer to the corral on day 1, calves are boostered on day 2 and moved back to their pasture. Then we repeat with the next group of cows.
Unlike during spring processing, we have a small crew (no neighbours helping this time). Cows and calves are separated in the alley. The cows are familiar with this routine and quickly go by while calves following their mothers end up in a pen to the side. The calves are then put down a chute to receive the vaccine. A chute is narrow alley – only one at a time please.
By giving the booster shot approximately 3 weeks before weaning we are giving time for it to be the most effective, while the calf is in an environment they are familiar with and stressors are low. After weaning there are a number of changes that will take place, but we will talk about that when the time comes!
We have 2 groups done, another group on the schedule for this week. We have had an inch of rain since last Wednesday, so we need to wait until the roads into the pasture have dried up so we do not cause ruts in our trails, and the corral also needs some drying time.