Using a calf sling - is this a joke?

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Well-known member
Oct 25, 2007
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California / Sierra Nevada Foothills
I've been meaning to ask this for a long time, but it slipped my mind.

I got a calf sling for Christmas, in preparation for this year's calving season, which has come and gone.

How do you keep those suckers on? Is the calf just supposed to stand there and cooperate? When we would go to hoist up the calf, it would always slide forward or backward instead of being balanced in the sling. And once they start kicking and carrying on, forget it. Having mama circling us an inch away didn't help a lot either.

So, we weighed a couple on the bathroom scale, but that isn't always possible. In the end we gave up and went back to our old way - picking up the calf and comparing it to the 70 lb. dog! We'll try the sling again next year. I know people use them all the time, it just seemed like a circus every time we tried.
We have a sling that we use with our scale. we did have some trouble with the calves sliding around, but we just moved the sling around until it fit better and that helped.
Now when the calf was sliding out we read the weight quicker. :D ;-)
No, the sling's no joke. We use one to weigh calves. Step over their back in front of the hips so they can't run out from under you. Position the sling under their belly, hook the scales on and lift. it takes some practice, but it works for us.
I got one a few years ago..... tried to use it once.... calf was all over the place.... put the POS in the closet and it disappeared.

It is a joke.

JMO, BTW I used a new BW system this year, it's easy quick and one person can do it all, shots, tags weighing.

Our sling is made of a stiff piece of carpet. It doesn't fold up and they don't slide around in it. It works really well for newborns and usually for day olds.
Anything older just bounces around too much.
I use the sling all the time and have very little trouble keeping them in. I have used it since I started my own herd about 20 years ago. I weigh, tag, dehorn and can usually castrate with the calf just hanging there. It had straps to strap the calves in when we first bought it; I cut them off because they were always in the way. One extra thing I did was cut a fairly big section out where the navel sits; maybe this is why the don't slide out?? Maybe the belly of the calf sinks into this hole a bit??
I never had one,but I just tie the legs together and pick them up with the scale.
We had a tent company make us a sling years before they became available. It's made with heavy canvas, with two round wooden sticks stictched on each end, so it CANNOT fold up. Sometimes, we might have a little trouble getting it to fit between their front & rear legs if they are extremely small, but it will "scrunch" enough even for little ones.
I saw a video recently where a fella had a scale attached to the side of his truck. He used a hook like device with two prongs that went under the calf's belly the two prongs pointed a little forward and a little backward. It's made it so the calf couldn't slip out. He would go up and just kinda slip it under the belly then hoist up the calf on a scale attached to a swing arm. Hoist the little fella up and administer whatever he wanted. He was also able to keep the calf between himself and the cow. If I ever find the link for it I will post it here.