On the Hibbard family ranch in Montana, they calve their herd in June, and by the time they are ready to wean calves in the late fall, snow sometimes has drifted over the fences. That condition, however, is the only factor that will prevent them from using fenceline weaning, a practice Whit Hibbard believes provides dramatic benefits in health, performance and animal welfare.

For Glenn Benjamin, who runs Bijou Creek Livestock in eastern Colorado, a different system – weaning nose clips – serves the same purpose of reducing stress during this critical period. Several companies such as QuietWean and EasyWean market these clips, which allow calves to graze, but not nurse, meaning calves can remain in the same pastures with their dams through the weaning period.