Arrrrrrgh!

This morning my calf Dorrie learned how to nurse through the cheap-jack weaning ring!

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Slurp! Right through the oversized hole and into her mouth. And notice how the splayed flat spikes don’t touch Moxie’s udder anywhere?

So now both calves that are wearing the knock-off weaners are nursing.

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This is a weaning device?

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Absolutely Useless Trash.

The only calf not nursing is Henry, actually my most determined milk thief, who is wearing last year’s Cotran weaner.

I’m sure readers are wondering why I continue to fume about this weaner situation. Your amazement would be even greater if you knew that I paid all of $3.19 for each of these weaning rings.

However, I have now wasted days on this problem, my dear little cow has cut teats, my foster calf is going hungry in the evenings, I will have to catch the big calves, rehalter and tie them, and switch weaners (when the promised replacements ever get here), and generally cope with considerable extra work because someone at Jeffers Livestock decided to substitute a knock-off brand for the good Cotran weaners that they advertised and I believed I was buying.

I muck the barn, thinking furiously as I stab my pitchfork into dirty bedding. Genuine Cotran weaners are not expensive. I can buy them retail, in a case of ten, for $2.75 apiece.  So I wonder what the cost is to the retailer? I wonder what the mark-up is?

I wonder — as I break ice out of water buckets — just how much more Jeffers made on each sale by substituting the new trash brand for Cotran. Surely it cannot have been an enormous sum. But let’s say it was $2 per item. How many of the poor weaners did they sell? How much money are we talking?

Then I wonder about their profit on this small item vs. the value of customer trust and good will.

The phrase “mess of pottage” comes to mind.

I had a similar experience with Jeffers last year. Two years ago the company led the way offering cattle fly masks, a new and unique item unavailable anywhere else. I bought several and loved them. Many of my internet cow friends did the same. We all promoted the masks and Jeffers, and would have done so into the future.

Then last year I went to order more for the 2012 season. The photographs and ordering information online were exactly the same. However when I received the new fly masks, I found the quality had declined markedly. The mesh was thinner, the colors were washed out, the seams and gluing were haphazard. These masks fell apart in a few weeks. I decided I would not order cattle masks from Jeffers again, but I had thought the switch in quality was an isolated instance.

Now I am not sure.

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2 Responses to Arrrrrrgh!

  1. Michelle Canfield says:

    That is a bummer. I wonder if Cotran’s patent has expired? That knockoff seems so close, I bet they are fit to be tied to know that someone has copied their design, but poorly enough that it doesn’t work, and now reflects badly on all such devices.

    I have run into similar issues with Premier. Many of their products appear to be made offshore, and the designs are very frequently problematic (at least for me). Premier is always gracious about immediately replacing things that break, and I can see sometimes in the replacement that they have had the design flaw corrected. But it’s an inconvenience, nonetheless, to have something fail and have to wait for a replacement.

    I wonder if, while you are waiting for the replacement, if you could crisscross a bunch of twine or something through that hole?

    • adkmilkmaid says:

      Michelle, I have no idea about patents, but I too wondered about the feelings of the folks at Cotran. The knock-off is surely a deliberate effort to mimic their product, yet it doesn’t work, which must result in customer disgust with all “yellow calf weaners.” How many people buy calf weaners based on the name of the manufacturer? Not many, I imagine. I never knew who made the good ones until I looked it up… ahem!… on the Jeffers website (when they didn’t actually carry Cotran any more). Great idea with the twine, but Jeffers has just sent me some QuietWean weaners to try — as they don’t have any of the Cotran on hand — and I am going to be tackling those next.

      I’m interested in and surprised by your poor experience with products from Premier. I have bought from them for many years now. Every single thing I have ever bought from Premier has been top-notch, save one run of ear tags, which they acknowledged had a design flaw and immediately offered to replace (I didn’t bother). I have always thought of Premier as the gold standard in livestock suppliers!

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