Frequently Asked Questions.
Here are some common questions about QuietWean.
How do nose-flaps stay in the calf’s nose / do many fall out?
The tag simply hangs from the calf’s nose! They are made of lightweight plastic and are non-invasive (there is no piercing of the nasal septum to keep flaps in place). The unique one-piece design of these flaps makes them less-likely to break or fall apart. It seems nothing is ever perfect and a few nose-flaps may indeed fall out as some have during our own experimental trials. We have had some reports of worse but in general, the retention rate with these flaps has been 95% or better. Flaps sometimes fall out during the jostling that occurs as the cattle are being handled.
How do nose-flaps prevent nursing / how effective are they?
The nose-tag acts as a physical barrier preventing calves from getting a teat into their mouth. Recent feedback from producers suggests there can be considerable variation between farms in the number of calves that figure out a way to suck while wearing our nose tag (e.g. 5-30%). In our own test trials, a small proportion of calves (fewer than 10%) did manage to suck despite wearing the device. We are highly dedicated to improving the overall effectiveness of our nose-flaps. Your suggestions are essential to help us in this process and we strongly encourage all who use our product to send feedback about their experience!
How long should the nose-flaps be left on calves?
We recommend nose-flaps be worn for 4-7 days. Our research on calves 6-7 months of age has shown the same benefits whether nose-flaps are worn for 4 days or 14 days so we recommend the former. We have found that cows are quieter after separation when nose-flaps were worn for 8 days compared to if it was worn for 4 days. The calf’s nostrils may eventually become irritated if the nose-flaps are left on a very long time.
Can I remove nose-flaps and keep cows and calves together?
The second step of the QuietWean protocol, the physical separation of cows and calves, is essential to its success! Separation across a fenceline is sufficient but it is important that once nose-flaps are removed, pairs are not immediately reunited. If this is done we know that cows and calves will pair-up again and continue nursing.
What are the major advantages of using QuietWean?
The QuietWean protocol virtually eliminates changes in behaviour which normally occur as a result of weaning stress. We believe the QuietWean protocol reduces weaning stress. This translates into calves spending less time and energy bawling and walking after weaning while they increase the amount of time they spend eating. It seems likely that reducing weaning stress with QuietWean will have long-term benefits on calf health and performance. We are currently investigating this possibility. The QuietWean method may also help prolong the life of your fences since calves weaned this way are much calmer and are less likely to break-through fences after separation.
Are there drawbacks to using QuietWean?
Some will say extra handling is a drawback to this weaning method. True calves need to be handled twice; once to put in the nose-flaps and once when they are removed. How stressful the additional handling is on the cattle will depend on how roughly you handle them! This also has to be weighed against the stress of traditional weaning methods!
Can nose-flaps be recycled and used again?
Use them as many times as you like! QuietWean nose-flaps can be used again and again. We recommend washing and disinfecting nose-flaps after each use.