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Weaning Heifers
29 August 2008
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Silence pervades the empty cattle pens as they wait the start of another busy day, this time weaning the heifers out of the herds. At right, the covered structure containing the cattle scale. Below left, an empty trough awaits its users, and, below right, some of the interlocking gates and enclosures that make up the pens.
For a brief moment the rising sun infuses the ground fog with golden light as the cowboys cross a pasture. Below, the Brahma herd is driven out of the pasture.
A lightly used dirt road cutting through part of the ranch sometimes has an unusual excuse for a traffic jam. Vinnie Parentela and his horse block the south side of the road while Clyde Scent watches the north side as the cattle cross the road.
The cattle are driven into the pens where the heifers are separated out from the herd. Once the heifers are out and safely locked away in another part of the pens, the cows are taken back to their respective pastures.
The troughs in the pens where the heifers will spend the next five days are filled with hay and a high protein feed. The feed is formulated to replace the protein they would normally derive from their mother's milk while, also, helping them grow.
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Florida Cattle Ranch by Bob Montanaro
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