Weaning Pen, Day 3

With daylight comes the fretful calls of calves, two miles down canyon from our early morning coffee. By day four they will have stopped bawling for their mothers, another two miles and 2,000 feet in elevation up the canyon. Averaging 650 lbs., these nine month-old calves are not babies, yet miss the only security they’ve ever known.  It is not easy.  We’ve tried fenceline weaning, only to conclude that it prolonged the bawling and the anxiety on both sides of the fence.

We’ve been blessed with cooler weather this week as we gathered the Paregien Ranch to haul the calves off the hill, six gooseneck loads down a steep, 4-wheel drive track to Dry Creek—two hours round trip. Limited to loose part-loads, we have to panel half of the calves forward over the pickup’s back axel to maintain traction, each trip leaving the dirt road a little looser.  The following day, we culled the cows deeply, limited to five or six cows per trip as we prepare for continued drought conditions.

All things considered, we’re pleased with the condition of the calves and cows.  With one more pasture yet to wean, we will wait until the coming hot spell passes with a forecast high of 113°.  We’ve experienced a more volatile pattern (than what once was normal), between highs and lows this June https://drycrikjournal.com/weather/journal-2020-21/ and hope for another cooling trend a week from now.

Meanwhile, we fill the barns with hay today.

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