There are a lot of misconceptions about farming. A recent one that was brought to my attention was this:
There are several things you should know about this “spiked nose ring”:
- It is called a “Weaner Ring”. It is used on dairy calves that are weaned (no longer consuming milk). On occasion it could also be used on adult cattle.
- They are NOT put on every newborn dairy calf. Majority of dairy farms remove the calves and care for them individually. There would be no need to use these on calves that are no longer with their mothers, unless that calf is in a group setting and trying to nurse on another calf (see below for more details).
- The “weaner ring” in the picture above does not pierce the nose. It is a clamp on. There are a variety of different “weaner ring” options.
- It is NOT common practice on dairy farms because as mentioned, calves are cared for separately from their mothers. I had to reach out to quite a few dairy farmers to find one that had recently used one of these. Most couldn’t even remember when they last had to use one. The photo below is a heifer that belongs to a friend. She no longer has her nose ring as she quit trying to nurse on others.
- The “spikes” are NOT piercing as in if you touch them, they will not pierce your skin. The purpose is to touch the other animal & have that animal move away from the one trying to nurse.
- Let me repeat, these are not put on every dairy calf and they do not harm the calf or cow wearing them.
So when would a dairy farmer use these and why?
- If they are used on a dairy calf, it is to prevent them from trying to nurse on another calf. If a calf nurses on another calf, it can cause tissue damage in the quarter the calf is trying to nurse on. When the calf that was nursed on becomes a milk cow, that quarter will have a high chance of not producing milk due to the tissue damage.
- If they are used on a cow, it is to prevent them from trying to nurse on another cow. If a cow nurses on another cow, it can cause mastitis.
- These are used to protect the other animal. Typically they are only used for a short period of time. They are removed once the calf or cow has learned to no longer nurse on others.
As far as dairy farms, using a “weaner ring” it is not as common as activists might have you believe. It does not harm the animal wearing it.
If you would like to read more about weaning beef cattle, click here. If you ever have questions or concerns about what happens on dairy farms, please ask a farmer. If you would like to talk to a rancher on beef cattle, I would love to connect you with one!
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