On the west coast of Scotland muzzles woven from willow were put on calves to prevent them from suckling for a while. Often a farmer or crofter may only have one cow and if it had a calf suckling then that meant less milk available for the family.
Alisdair Davidson who made a replica of the muzzle explained how they would put the muzzle on if they needed milk for their children. Putting the muzzle on prevented the calf from getting all the milk and allowed the farmer to get some. He explained that this practise meant that ‘the cattle up the west coast and Ireland (where they had a similar practise) ended up very small because they weren’t eating when young’
by Julie Gurr
Based on interview with Alisdair Davidson on 16th August 2013