The Quiet Wean calf nose ring weaning device was made to help cattle producers wean their calves with less stress, and thus less weight loss, bawling, and walking through a two-step process. You can see more about it at their website here.
Our friend, who took the cow and calf during the evacuation, knows our farm and suggested we use it to wean Ferdinand, she even gave us one when she brought them back home.
We have limited space, so weaning the calf can be a tricky situation. Last year, with our first calf, we accomplished it with our stock panels and using the then-vacant second stall, but it was inconvenient to get in and out of the stock panel pen without a gate, and we have since added two sheep to the farm who occupy our second stall. So this was the perfect time for us to try out the Quiet Wean device. For our farm, the benefits would be just like the others, less bawling and weight loss, but it would include an even more important benefit – not having to separate the cow and calf at all.
The second that our friend gave it to us and explained the concept we were very excited to give it a try. We knew it could potentially be an excellent answer to a problem we were facing.
Ferdi was being closed off from his Mama from about 7pm-6am. We would milk her in the morning and then put them back together. So to ease the transition on her udder as well as on Ferdi we decided to put the ring in around noon. We saw him drink a full meal right around noon and then we put the ring in.
As far as inserting the ring – it was very easy. In the videos on the website they, of course, have the calf in a squeeze chute. We don’t have a squeeze chute so we planned to have my husband restrain him up against a wall and then I would insert the device. But while I was inside my husband saw an opportunity when both cow and calf were in the stall, so he just really quickly pressed Ferdi up against the wall and put the thing in his nose. It was in and over before the calf even realized what had happened. I think the speed and element of surprise was the key.
It has been almost two weeks now and it has worked WONDERFULLY. We are so happy with it. It blocks him from being able to nurse, but he can still eat and drink with no problems. There has been no bawling and no upset. We are getting the milk we need from Violet again, and they are both happily living together as always. The transition was SO smooth!
We plan to leave it in until we butcher Ferdi in February or March. It is very convenient to be able to leave them living together this whole time since we only have one barnyard. What a great solution for our little farm.