We will be weaning calves later this week. Our grassfed cows work year round, but we do give the cows about two months off from providing milk to a calf. The last calf crop was born mid-May 2014 and the calves have had momma’s milk for the past 10 months. This allows adequate time for the calf rumen (special stomach for grass digesting) to become fully developed. The calf is now ready to turn grass into nutrition and ultimately beef for the rest of its life. Actually the amount of milk the cow has provided daily has probably dropped significantly over the past few months. Yet the calf has been getting a nice dose of that all important drink to keep the calf growing through this important time of life.
This photo is our smallest cow letting her calf suck just the other day. We are not trying to wean heavy calves so we can brag about weaning weight. I wish we did have a scale to weigh our animals but we just are not a big operation at this point. From the looks of it, this cow, which probably weighs 950 lbs. will be weaning a calf that I estimate at 575 lbs. or greater. She has accomplished raising this calf on an all grass diet of stockpiled forage with supplemental hay. Lets take a look at the percentage of weight that the cow was able to wean. Weaning a 575 lbs. calf / 950 lbs. cow = 60% of the cows weight weaned in the calf. Not all of our cows are this small, but I think it is safe to say that most of our cows will wean a calf around 50% of her own weight. Of course they will do it on an all forage diet.
Please contact us if you would like to visit the herd.