Whenever we are working livestock, and we are working hard, we are doing something very wrong — or somebody is. It’s usually somebody else.

— Bud Williams

Helping Wean Some Calves

Last week was the third chance I have had to work with someone’s newly weaned calves. The most recent group was a group of just weaned the day before I saw them Charolais cross spring calves. These calves had not been handled at all to speak of, other than they had been moved from one pasture to the next every third day or so. The owner called me complaining that his water tank floats were leaking, hissing and not shutting off. I had not visited with him in a while so I said I’d come over and have a look. We took one of his two leaking floats apart which both were in his corral where the day before weaned calves were bawling and walking the fence. Fixed the first float while the calves came up and drank out of the tank we were working on. Took the second float off and fixed it all the while the calves walked back and forth totally concentrating on their terrible predicament.

After both floats were fixed the owner said he couldn’t believe how the calves did not seem to be bothered by me being there. He said, anyone else comes and they head for the back corner. I said, well looks to me like they just need a walk. He smiled not knowing what to say and said he would watch and learn. So, I proceeded to walk the calves around the small lot next to the corral a couple of times and drove them straight into the corral where several got a drink and then I drove them out of the corral and back into the lot. I drove the calves around the lot a couple more time and placed them at the farthest corner away from where they wanted to be earlier. The owner and I stood and talked for probably 10 minutes and the calves never moved. He said he thought he could find time to walk them again that same day and maybe a time or two the next.

I had a chance to visit with him a couple of days ago and he told me he had never had calves that weaned that easily. None sick, no runny noses all eating and doing very well. He said those little walks had made a lot of difference in these calves. The floats work right too.

This is the third time I have had this result with other people’s calves.

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