I have a mom and a year old successfully weaned, finally, (all thanks to advise from here! )heifer, pasturing together. Mom is due late august. should I be concerned about allowing new calf due in august to be around year old heifer? Should I be separating them?
It really depends on how the calf acts. You do not want the calf to nurse on the heifer. Why would the calf want to nurse on the heifer when he has his own mom to nurse??? beats me!! but there are some that do this and it can be a big problem for your heifer down the road. Some heifers wont allow it and kick nosey/nursey calves away but others seem to love it. I think it is better to separate the heifer from the fresh mom and her calf if that is possible. At minimum, separate the heifer for a couple of weeks after the calf is born so that the calf is well bonded to the mom.
Make sure you keep an eye on the year old heifer, that she won't nurse. This spring when one of our cows had her calf her last years calf that had been weened for at least 5 months , she was a year old at this time, nursed mama tried to walk away a few times but finally gave in. WE had to immediately separate!! THis year old heifer had not even tried to nurse for months but I guess seeing the milk bar open again brought back memories
I had a similar issue with a 2 year old steer wanting to nurse. He was separated from his mother for months as a weanling, her next calf-he wanted to nurse, separated them again. His momma didn't calve this year but she came into milk and guess who was nursing.......He is gonna taste mighty fine next month.
We also had the same issue with a weaned heifer nursing mom after many months separated/weaned! Truthfully, it was quite a shocker, but the mom is a "good" mom, and "good" moms want to give in. I met an old farmer who said he once had a 4-year old cow get down on her knees to nurse a lactating cow---a cull if I ever heard of one! :-) I also ditto all of the above. moi
My Dexter's yearling heifer, weaned for almost 5 months, sneaked a drink while mama was in labor with calf number 2. I had to deal with teats that had been stripped of all the skin on one side. I thought maybe it was a urine burn but a month later she did it again, on one teat and I caught her after her mother had jabbed her with a horn. Definitely separate them for awhile, even before mama calves.
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Arctic farming at it's finest:
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