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Senior Contributor

Sold the Little Burgers

Wednesday evening, Dad and I decided to wean and sell a few calves on Thursday.


We decided to take the calves to a sale that was a few hours away, since we had sold calves there in the past, and always received a fair price.


Thursday morning we got the calves sorted off of the cows, and loaded in the gooseneck. This Thursday’s (3-19-2015) sale was probably one of the sale barn’s largest of the year. We decided we would try to get the calves to the sale by noon (the sale is a few hours drive from where the calves were located). Since Dad was tired, and I was happier to drive than ride; Dad decided to take a nap, while I drove the pickup (I drive Dad’s pickup with and without trailers frequently, so my driving it was not unusual). I mapped the route on my smartphone, and off we went. I did not pay very close attention to the road signs (one of my frequently occurring and less than desirable habits), as long as the blue dot stayed on the blue line on my phone, I believed I was doing fine. A couple hours into the trip, and when Dad was well into his nap, I realized that the blue dot was no longer on the blue line. So, I woke Dad up, and told him that,"I think I am on the wrong road”. Dad helped me get turned around, figured out where we were, and what route we needed to take, got me on that route, and then gave me a lecture about why I need to read road signs instead of following the blue dot on the blue line, before resuming his nap. My wrong turn cost us about an hour, as we got the calves to the sale, about 1:00 PM.


After unloading the calves, Dad and I watched the sale for about 45 minutes before heading home. As there were more than 5000 head at the sale, we did not stay long enough to see our calves sell, but are hopeful that they sold well.


I did the driving on the way home as well, and I only made one wrong turn. Thankfully, Dad was awake that time, and we had less than a five minute delay.


All things considered, we had a fun and successful day.


The pictures of the calves were taken in early March.  


The link is to the usda market report for the sale that we took the calves to.  


NOTE: For those who are wondering about the legality of my using a maps app on my phone while driving, cell phone use is still legal in Texas, which is where I was driving.







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4 Replies
Senior Advisor

Re: Sold the Little Burgers

Why don't you wean them first before selling?

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Re: Sold the Little Burgers

Bet they sold good.


Grass time and blacks.

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Veteran Advisor

Re: Sold the Little Burgers

Glad to hear you went to auction barn - I have witnessed some  ''grumbeling'' on some of the tv cattle shows on the R f d  about this  ''RIGHT  SLIDE '' on bying country feeder cattle - lots of  WINE- ING  about feeder weights ?????  B T O  ism      

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Senior Contributor

Re: Sold the Little Burgers

The main reason Dad and I frequently sell our calves at weaning is personal preference. The following are some of the reasons why it is normally our preference.


Less stress, frustration, and injury risk:
Once separated, the inability for the cow and calf to get together while possibly being able to see or hear each other, creates more stress for the animals as well as serving to frustrate them. Animals that are stressed and/or frustrated are more likely to test fences in an attempt to get back with the animals they were separated from. The risk of the cattle getting injured in an attempt to get through a fence is greatly increased in this situation.


Less work:
In order to keep the weaned calves and cows from being able to see or hear each other, one will have to keep the animals separated by a considerable distance which nearly doubles the work associated with the herd without increasing the head numbers.


Less sorting and hauling:
When weaning calves from the cow, it is likely that the calves will already be at working corals that will have a load out. Loading the calves out at the same time they are weaned, prevents the need to transfer the calves to a new location and then have to re-sort the calves a few weeks later when the calves have been hard weaned.

Less shrink:
Every time cattle are worked and loaded on a trailer, they are subjected to stress, which will result in more shrink.


Less bawling:
When the cow and calf are not getting any response to their baling and are not able to see the other, it is my belief that they tend to forget the other faster, which ends in less stress and frustration for the animal, and less bawling that the people who are around the cattle have to endure. ( Have you ever heard a calf bawl until it had become hoarse? I have. While I felt sorry for the calf, it was rather funny to hear.)


In conclusion, whether a person decides to hard wean their calves or wean and haul them to a sale on the same day, comes down to personal preference based on past experiences, working corral setup, pasture availability, desirable weaning weight, and ability to handle feeder cattle, to name a few.


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