To say winter has been icky this year, might be an understatement.
Is it the worst winter I’ve ever experienced? Yes.
Is it is bad as it could be? No.
Remember that last year while I spent my winter in The Lone Star State, they suffered from days of no electricity and were even without water. It was a national disaster that didn’t make national news, because well, it’s just the people on Indian Reservation. You think I jest. I. Do. Not.
While the weather isn’t pleasant, the price for cattle certainly are. So we made the decision to sell all the heifers we held back this past fall. The prices were just too good to pass up. Plus we’ve got water issues- which is another story altogether- and the hay pile seems to be going faster than it should, and we don’t really need any *replacement heifers.
21 January 2010
At 7:45 this morning, the cattle truck arrived. As usual there is never a dull moment. It was maybe 10 degrees outside. Did I mention it was also snowing? Things started off with a bang, as the trucker backed over a t-post. It happens. That required a log-chain, and another pickup to hold the t-post down long enough that he could drive forward over it. Then we just sort of bent it back like it was supposed to be. T-posts are often the collateral damage of skid-steers, tractors, trailers, pickups; you name it. They get hit, run over, bumped, bent and broken. Some of you are laughing because you know exactly what I’m talking about; and some of you don’t understand. It’s ok.
After we got the truck backed up to the loading chute, we loaded the 40 heifers we sold via **private treaty. Selling via private treaty is preferred to the sale barn, as the sale barn takes a commission from the purchase price. Loading these was similar to the last time I loaded them, only this time, the entire corral is covered in snow, and the drift that I tripped over last time either wasn’t as tall, or there was just more snow, or both!
I then grabbed a bucket of ***cow-cake to call the remaining 35 head of heifer calves. A couple random steers, aka, Spare Rib and Chuck Roast, as well as a first calf heifer that was a bottle baby a couple years ago, were also in this herd. I needed to move all of them from the pen they were in, through another pen, into the pen we’d load from.
Smooth sailing that was. Shake the cake in the bucket and call them, and they just come running. I always feed them cake out of my hands if they’ll eat it. I love cows. I got those mooooo-ved (get it?) and then we needed to sort the steers and the first-calf heifer from the calves that were going on the truck.
After two trips bringing calves to the loading chute they were all in and we were all done! We put the steers and the heifer back into their pen and loaded up to go cake cows.
And that my friends is another day in my life…
*Replacement Heifers- calves that you raise or buy to replace your older cows as they either can’t have any more calves, or because they don’t produce a lot of milk, thus making a smaller calf than is ideal.
**Private Treaty means that we sold them to a buyer for an amount that was agreed upon by both parties. When you sell via private treaty you do not pay a commission like you do when you sell livestock at the sale-barn. The sale barn takes a percentage of purchase price for selling them.
***Cow- Cake is an extruded pellet type feed. It’s full of corn, vitamins and a high protein source made from varying vegetation.