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Life is too short to eat bad food! Sharing great recipes, farm life, stories and photography from our Northern California dairy farm.

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August 3, 2010

Weaning Baby Beef

Today's the day we separated our natural beef pairs.  We have 45 pairs (Mama and Calf) to bring down off the hills, to the corral to separate Mama from calf.  I drove out  with the kids and Chloe and along the way we spotted quite a few turkeys.

Adjacent to the turkeys were two does and two fawns who were not at all startled by our drive by.

It's 8:15 a.m., you can see the fog sitting at the top of the hills.  We hadn't even made it over to the first gate, where the pairs come through when we spotted the herd already being driven in our direction.  We don't use horses, only an ATV and trucks.

We're missing two pairs.  They're still somewhere up the hill which will require another ride back up to search for them.  The kids and I just followed behind the herd along with Dominic who was riding the ATV to make sure no one strayed off from the herd.

It was a bumpy ride.  I'm normally in the passenger seat of my father in law's vehicle for ease of photo taking, but I was on my own today.......well, with two kids and very excited Chloe who becomes VERY vocal upon seeing cows.  She really thinks she's a cow dog.....Anyway, difficult for me to snap photos, drive and keep Chloe from jumping out the window.  As you can see, many of my photos are a wee bit off.

Chloe barked her head off out the window,  until Dominic had me quite her down.  Mama cows were starting to become very protective of their calves with a dog barking at their rear. Chloe's barking caused a few of them to turn around and come towards us.  Chloe just thought she was helping {and actually, so did I.  Shows how much I know!}

Okay, they're moving along nicely now.

We're almost over to the third gate they'll be walking through.

And here is the fourth and final gate before entering the corral.  A dusty trail and what you see at the top of the photo is the fog cover still hovering at 9:30 a.m.

By now, most of you know my fear of bulls.  Holstein bulls.  But for some reason these beef bulls don't scare me {as much}.  I walked up to this guy {same side of the fence, this is not a zoomed photo} and took a photo.  Beef bulls are just more docile than those crazy Holstein bulls.

He was all about playing in the loose dirt pile and sniffing out his new surroundings.

Here are the babies.  Most of them are around 10 months old with some being a bit younger.  They are taken over to the dairy by trailer, where they will be picked up Monday by a driver and driven to the valley to auction. 

After the separation process, the mamas and bulls are walked back over through a couple of gates to their pasture land, where they will stay through the winter.

The entire process begins again. 

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Katie said...

I love the photos. I was once a scared of our beef bulls also but I learned to be bold and then I gained my confidence to be the official gate watcher and closer. It also helps to have a good cattle dog to be your protector!

Hattie Engel said...

so interesting!!!! Do the momma cows mind leaving he kiddos behind? Do the kiddos mind being left? why don't you raise them on your ranch? I live 10 minutes from you but know nothing about this whole process!

Nancy Grossi ~ Churned In Cali ~ The Wife of a Dairyman said...

@Hattie, The mama cows don't seem to mind being seperated from their cows, at least in my opinion-it's kind of out of site, out of mind. The calves are vocal for the next day with their new situation. And we do raise them on our ranch; the other half of our ranch sits behind Stafford Lake and we lease adjacent properties so the beef have that entire hillside you see behind the lake for the summer months:) It's great for the beef and to keep the grass down for fire protection.