High Stress All Around
With over 300 babies on the ground, it makes moving these cattle quite stressful for everyone involved. Moving mass numbers like this to a new grass piece takes multiple days and hours of labour. The main goal of the first day is to get all the calves used to moving with the cows and to get cows to pair up. If a calf loses it's mother in the commotion, they are more likely to run back the way they came because they are familiar with it. It is important that you do not chase these calves too hard or they will not stop running and can actually run a couple miles in the wrong direction. Some calves will be lost on the first day and they will return to the last place they remember seeing their mother. Once you get all the cattle moved and they start coming back for the calves, it is important to remain there and create an imaginary "wall". Once the calves learn that they can no longer return they way they came, they usually just lay down and wait for their mother to return. This "wall" process could take a couple hours depending on the calves age and temperament, and the amount of time it takes for the cows to return to search for their calves. The second day usually consists of collecting all the calves that were lost the first day or decided to run back after the "wall" was removed and any cows that followed the calves back. It is easiest to have at least one cow back with any straggler calves to help them walk in the correct direction. Pair and any extra calves are then pushed to the new field and again a wall is built until they calves bed down to wait for their calves. It could take a few more days, similar to day 2, depending on how the cattle settle.
How do you move new pairs? Let me know any tips and trick to keep the stress down for the pairs and for us!