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You are doing what to me today?  I feel like that is the look this cow was giving me today.  I feel ya, girl, most women don’t love that yearly exam.  Fall cattle work is much like that yearly check-up that we all need to prevent health problems and catch them early if we can to prevent bigger problems.

Preg Checking

Each fall we gather all of the cattle to give them the once over that is very similar to a yearly checkup.  Females will get “preg checked” this means that the veterinarian will palpate the cow or heifer to check to see if she is pregnant.  In some cases, the vet will use an ultrasound machine to identify the gender and to get a better guess of when the calf will be due.  We know when most of the cattle are due based on artificial insemination dates and when cows were in heat if they were bull bred.

Knowing the gender of the calf when a heifer is bred helps the producer to know which heifer they might want to pay closer attention to as they get closer to their due date.  For example, a heifer that is pregnant with a bull calf or twins will need a little closer watch as her due date approach versus a cow that has had five calves with ease.

Vaccines

All of the calves and cattle will get vaccinated.  We give a 4-way injection to prevent disease. This will prevent our cattle from getting respiratory diseases that could kill them or cause them to become very ill and go “off of feed” which means they will stop eating which will impact their rate of gain.

Pour-On

All cattle will get “poured”.  This means we will spray a liquid on their backs. This liquid will prevent parasites and other bugs like lice.  We want to prevent parasites from living on our animals because parasites can create havoc with their digestion, impact how they absorb nutrients and can impact their immune system making them more susceptible to disease.

These insecticide ear tags help in the summer, but pour-on does the job in the colder months.

Castration

Bull calves will get cut or banded during this process.  We chose to band all of our bull calves this year, which means that a thick rubber band was placed around the top of the testicle sack.  In about 3 weeks the sack will fall off and dry up and the bull calf is then considered a steer. We have done it both ways but felt that banding would be the easiest route to go this time. If you decide to "cut" the bull calves then you can enjoy rocky mountain oysters!

That's a wrap

When cattle work is all finished then there are some times some tough decisions to make. Animals that aren't bred and aren't going to produce calf in the next year probably need to be culled from the herd, as they will end up costing the producer quite a bit of money in feed and vet work. They could be kept until the next breeding season and that is a decision that the producer has to make based on their balance sheet.

Are there other things you do when working cattle on your farm or ranch? Any fun traditions that your family has during cattle work? Have you ever tried rocky mountain oysters?

From the gravel road-

Jen

Stories need to be told.  You heard me say a few days ago in this post.  I truly believe it, our stories need to be told.  When I speak to large groups part of my message is encouraging people to share their stories because if they don’t someday those stories will be gone. Well after many conversations (some with others and some in my own head) I have decided that I am going to take the opportunity to share stories for people that may not have the means or platform to do it.  I want to tell of their successes, tragedies, funny stories and how they truly lived farm, ranch, rural, and ag life. I want to tell the stories that I wish I had written down about my grandparents and their parents. 

Do you know a farmer, rancher, or person involved in agriculture that you think would love to give a gift of their story for all of us to enjoy?  I say gift because it truly is a gift to those that will be reading the stories. It will be a gift to the next generation and will be a gift to the people that lived the story. It will be a way for them to know their legacy to continue to live on. I want to talk to people of all ages, genders, and states!  I want to tell your story.

Will you allow me the pleasure of telling your story through pictures and words? It would be my pleasure.

Complete this form to recommend yourself or another farmer, rancher, or person in agriculture.

From the Gravel Road-

Jen

Please direct any questions you may have to Jen at jenniferkschmitt@gmail.com

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