It was quite a busy week on the ranch this week. While it’s technically still fall, shipping season is coming to a close here in Armstrong.
Monday I went to a neighboring town to pick up a new desk for the home office.
Tuesday I went to town for supplies.
Wednesday it rained and we got some freezing rain mixed with snow. It rained almost all day- but it wasn’t more than just a light rain, unfortunately. I did manage to snap a cool photo of the horses lined up head to tail standing in it.
Yesterday we shipped and weaned our calves. And that, friends, is the point of this post. You will have to pardon the lack of horseback photos. When we left yesterday it was about 28 degrees outside, we had a north wind and it felt about 10 degrees cooler than it really was. We were also short-handed so I didn’t even pack the big camera.
Before you start gathering cattle you have to get directions on who goes where:
Then you ride out and gather the cattle:
And you get a good photo of Dino with his ears forward- sometimes that seems like a rarity:
The cattle get corralled and you have to have mini-meetings about that too:
And they look at you like what the?
You get pretty photos of ponies tied to the portable corral in the pasture too, if you’re me:
Once you sort the cows from the calves, then you sort, by sex, the steer calves from the heifer calves. And then the heifer calves get the once over, and we choose which ones we want to keep as replacement heifers. The rest will be sent to the sale barn- either to become someone else’s heifers or to help feed America.
Then you go through the steers to see if there are any that don’t match the load you’re trying to make. You want them as even as you can get them. And then they go on trucks to the sale barn where they get to eat hay and drink water and hang out.
Then you feed your crew lunch, get them toasty warm inside, force them back to the cold, and pick up that bottle of peppermint schnapps, that you wish you’d have brought with you first thing in the day.
See, those heifers we kept are getting pasture weaned. We used nose flaps, or weaning rings to keep them from being able to nurse quite as successfully, so after lunch, we headed back to the corrals to put weaning flaps in the noses of the calves that are getting weaned.
What was required for this job was the squeeze chute, a big tractor to put it on the flatbed and bring it from home, and then of course the tractor had to set it down where we wanted it once we got it to the pasture, and then there were chains strung to keep the portable chute panels and the squeeze chute in place.
The calves were walked down the alley and caught in the head-gate of the squeeze chute to make it less stressful on them to have that inserted into their nose, and to make it easier on the person putting the ring in the nose.
And then because your favorite cow is a good mama, you take photos of her:
She knew she had a heifer calf still in the corral:
And once you’re done, the cows filter back into the corral to clean up the remaining alfalfa hay, and by this time the sun comes out, so you take a pretty photo like this:
Then you go home, get warm, and if you’re me, you go to the sale barn this morning to watch your calves sell!
Have a great weekend everyone!