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Weaning Bull Calves
16 August 2008
After five days locked in the cattle pens, the bull calves are ready to be released into a pasture on their own but they are still to be fed feed for the next 90 days. Above, Sean Sexton loads bags of feed onto the mule, while Sam the dog relaxes on the front seat. Left, the herd of bull calves gather in one of the pens.
Once the gates are open only a few of the braver calves come out one at a time on their own.
To hurry things along Sean enters the pen and drives the calves out.
The last of the herd exit the cattle pens.
The bull calves bound across the pasture happy to be free and able to stretch their legs.
Sean brings bags of feed out to the troughs in the pasture where the calves will be fed feed for the next 90 days.
The feed is a high protein mix to replace the cow milk they are no longer getting.
The feed contains, among other things, citrus pulp, wheat middlings, rolled cracked corn, cottonseed hulls, cane molasses, salt, and mineral oil along with a mix of vitamins and minerals. The bull calves are, at first, happy to be getting at fresh grass but within the hour are congregating around the troughs eating the feed. The feed is expected to help the calves gain 60-pounds in the next 30 days. Below, Sean surveys the pasture.
Sean checks the fence line to make sure none of the bull calves can get out.
Slack barbed wire is tightened with a special device made just for that purpose.
The device ratchets the barbed wire tight to where the wire can be cut then spliced back together taking out the slack leaving the wire taut.
A close-up of the splice in the now taut wire. In some places the wire just needs to be reattached to the post.
Sam the dog enjoyed being carted around the pasture but did not take well to how hot it was so early in the morning.
Florida Cattle Ranch by Bob Montanaro
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