Freshly-weaned calves ‘driven bananas’ by fireworks

About 30 freshly-weaned calves were “driven bananas” by fireworks in recent days in Co. Kildare, according to farmer Alan Byrne.

The cattle had only been weaned a few days prior to the incident, which occurred last weekend.

Alan had decided to keep the cattle in a field close to the house after weaning. A phone call from a neighbour alerted him to the fact that something had “spooked” his weanlings.

Speaking to AgriLand, he explained that he didn’t realise fireworks were the cause of the commotion until he got down to the field. He decided to bring his gun with him in case it was dogs that were following the cattle.

Before I left the house, all I could hear was the weanlings roaring and them trampling up and down the field.

The banger-type fireworks had initially frightened the animals, while the fireworks, which shoot up into the sky and sparkle in a multitude of colours, had “driven them bananas”, Alan added.

“The weanlings went out through fences and some of them lost tags in the process.

But as bad as it was, it could have been a lot of worse.

“Weaning is stressful enough on the calves as is. I vaccinated them pre-weaning; only for that, I could have had a huge problem with pneumonia – given the running and stress caused by the fireworks,” he said.

Alan took the decision to move the weanlings from the field immediately. One of the animals required a little bit of attention, as he had “a little bit of a draw on him”, the farmer added.

As the weanlings were accustomed to receiving a bit of meal, it made it easier to move the animals to a different field and helped to calm them down, Alan noted.

He also hopes that four in-calf heifers, which were located in a neighbouring field, are going to be okay – as the fireworks and the commotion made by the weanlings had also spooked them as well.


Following the incident, Alan encouraged farmers to be aware of the fact that fireworks will be a much more common occurrence leading up to Halloween.

He also urged the general public to think twice about where they decide to let off fireworks.

Concluding, he advised farmers not to wean calves until after Halloween or to wean them in a shed.

“I won’t be weaning any more until Halloween is over,” he said.