Spring has officially sprung here on the ranch. We are loving the warmer weather for several reasons this week, not the least of which that it's just nice to see our old friend the sun again. As the days get longer this means the work-load gets larger and the work day gets more grueling. Here's a peek at what we accomplished this week:
It's time to start moving the cows around to greener pastures, literally. One reason we are thankful for the sun is because the cows need to be moved off the calving grounds. This means we need the grass to grow to give them quality feed since we won't be feeding them hay anymore. This again means pairing and trailing out, like we did last week, except these cows go to a different spring pasture, and pairing again. Trailing babies farther than "just across the road" is an adventure we can get into another time.
While moving all of the older cows we can out to the spring pasture, we also have to take the two-year-olds, first time mamas, and their babies out. First we trail them over to the corrals to pour them and give them a mineral shot. The mineral is to give them a boost as they go out as first time moms, and the pour-on is a liquid insecticide we spray on their backs to keep the flies from nesting and hatching. Once we've done this we put them back with their babies and trail them out. Pairing with the two year olds is an especially trying time as these new mamas aren't quite sure what the drill is: get your baby, THEN go eat. They are pretty sure they should just be able to take off and worry about the babies later.
This is also the time of year the ranch orders their IMI Global tags and we get the steer tags placed and trail them out to spring pasture as well. The best thing about trailing steers is NO PAIRING. Our steers get these fancy tags because they are enrolled in a program that marks them as verified natural (never treated with hormones etc.) and GAP Level 4, which means that we are a pasture based ranch and signifies our animals good welfare.
Another good reason to be thankful for the beautiful weather is that we got to do all of this work in it. Any of these jobs can be taxing all on its own, but when you have to do it in bad weather it can make the whole experience fairly miserable. However, when you get to do the work in the spring sunshine, even when it doesn't go perfectly it makes for a good day. And the last reason we loved the lovely weather was because it afforded us the opportunity to get the kids out on horseback to help a bit. The kids couldn't get enough and its going to be a big summer of riding. It was good to see them in the saddle again after the long winter.
With just a few cows left to calve we are hoping this great weather holds up, and looking forward, we have plenty of busy days ahead and we could sure use the sunshine. Here's hoping you all had some beautiful spring weather where you are. What do you like to do when the weather starts to warm up?