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Weaning Beef Calves? Stop The Bawling!

Reduce the stress on beef calves when weaning with these quick tips from Adele Harty, SDSU Extension cow-calf field specialist.

Try fence line or two-step weaning to reduce the stress on beef calves when you wean them this year. It could improve the health and performance of the calf. Adele Harty, SDSU Extension cow-calf field specialist, offers these tips:

First, place cow-calf pairs in the pasture the calves will be in following weaning so they become familiar with the fences and water sources.

Second, upon weaning, place the cows in the pasture adjacent to the calves so they cannot nurse the calves, but they can still see, hear and smell each other. This may require some modifications to fences to ensure cows and calves remain separated. 

There are multiple options for fencing, which could be as simple or complex as desired. Examples include: a five-strand, barbed wire fence; five-strand electric if they have not been acclimated to electric fence before weaning; barbed wire fence with a single offset electric wire to ensure calves cannot reach through and nurse. Other options can work, but the key is to maintain separation.

To read more about how to reduce weaning stress, click here.


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