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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

Welcome!  I have missed you.

 For those of you that have been my friends on social media, you may remember the days of my blog Just A Mom Giving It A “Tri”.  If so, I hope you are as excited as I am for this new adventure with Tails From The Gravel Road.  Hopefully, everyone understands my play on words with “tails” instead of “tales.”  My plan for this blog is to share:

- the funny and sometimes “not so funny” stories of farm life

- health and wellness

- life at the Schmitt house (recipes, tips, tricks, parenting)

- personal development

-my wellness journey

- inspiration

Since the last time I wrote on Just A Mom Giving It A Tri there have been so many changes.  At that time I was a stay at home mom, my husband always laughed when I told people I was a stay at home mom.  The mileage on my vehicle told a little different story as I was leading fitness classes, Weight Watchers meetings, and the girls and I didn’t exactly stay home much.  🙂 In September of 2015, I had surgery as a result of my battle with crohn's disease. Now, I am working full time as a special education consultant and while I haven’t been blogging I have continued my writing (more on that soon.) I now find myself trying to find balance with work, home, marriage, farm life, parenting, life with crohn’s disease, and fitness. Lord knows it’s not easy, but I am still trying.  

Thanks for joining me on this new adventure!  I can’t wait to share more of what has been happening in the last few years and the years to come. Be sure to check out the other pages on the website in the menu above.

From the Gravel Road-

Jen

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