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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

We are venturing to the Vee Bar Guest Ranch again this summer and we couldn't be more excited! The Vee Bar is an awesome ranch in Wyoming.  The Vee Bar has a very special place in our families heart, because my niece Emily is a wrangler at the ranch. My mom and Emily started visiting the ranch in 2012 as guests and they both fell madly in love with the lifestyle and people at the ranch.

Emily working at the ranch in 2018.

Whenever my mom had told my dad that her and Emily were going back again he always said (with a grin), “What’s the big deal? We have cows, we have horses, we have a creek you can ride through, and you can even sleep outside if you want.”  🙂

Mom enjoying a break while on a ride.

I fully admit, I never understood what the excitement was all about until I was there to see it for my own eyes. It is absolutely spectacular.  Everything about it! The views, the staff, the guests, the wild flowers, the food, and the accommodations! I could go on and on about it, but I thought I would ask Emily for her first hand view of the ranch through her eyes. Here are Em’s top highlights about working at the Vee Bar:

A few of the Wranglers that work at the ranch.
  1. The people that I work with are like my second family. (I will agree with this, I am not sure misses those of us in Iowa when she gets to live with and work with such genuine, good-hearted people that she does in Wyoming.) 
  2. Getting to meet new guests each week. (Each week a new group of guests come in on Sunday and sometimes more come in on Wednesday)
  3. I have really gotten out of my “shell” by meeting so many different people. (I often think about how all of the people Em has met and converses with will help her with her goal of becoming a teacher, that girl can talk to anyone!)
  4. Cattle work and camping out some of the best times on the ranch! (On Thursday nights during the week guests have the option to “sleep under the stars” or in a cabin or in a tepee while on the weekly camp out. We chose cots in a cabin, but I think just rolling out a sleeping bag on the ground would be super fun, too!)

So what’s the big deal? Why am I announcing that we are going to the Vee Bar again this summer?  WELL, I got the bright idea this fall to give myself a challenge called #venturetotheveebar. I am totaling up all of my walking, running, and biking miles in attempt to “venture” to the Vee Bar by the time we go in July.  I am behind in my miles right now, but am planning to make every attempt to meet my goal by the time we get there! The girls are partaking, too, they decided to split the mileage between the two of them. 🙂 I will try to keep you up on our progress towards the 837 mile trek!

Not taken today, taken on the day we started the challenge!

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Comment below and tell us do you have a favorite vacation memory? Any big trips planned this summer? Have you ever been to the Vee Bar? We for sure want to hear about your trip!

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