It’s one of those weeks where you feel like you are always moving. Early mornings and you usually use up all of your day. True, the days are getting shorter so you don’t have the hours that you did a month ago. Even so, there wasn’t much time for sitting around. That’s how it was on the Greet Ranch, anyway.
Monday kicked it off. It was supposed to be the light day, working me into the heavier work that was to come. I was hauling hay, getting it in the corrals so it was ready for the weaned calves. It was nothing exciting, just delays and things going slower than planned. Do you ever have those days? Mine kept me out until after dark getting the hay all set, but I got it set and promptly left to get things ready for Tuesday.
Tuesday morning, we hauled horses up the mountain and gathered heifers. The couple hundred heifers were trailed a short distance to the corral. We proceeded to, with the help of our veterinarian, “preg” test our heifers. He calls them “open” or pregnant and gives us an approximate date that they will calve. You may remember that we did a blood test to see which heifers were bred by artificial insemination. Even the heifers that were pregnant according to the blood test get retested by the vet to see if they are still pregnant. A few of these heifers don’t maintain the pregnancy and we only keep replacements out of the heifers that stay bred on the AI. The heifers that were not bred were sorted off to be shipped later. Pregnant heifers were vaccinated to prevent scours and “poured” with a wormer as they went through the chute. The pregnant heifers were trailed back to their pasture.
Wednesday we gathered the pasture that had most of our cows and calves. This was weaning day. We brought them all to the corral and sorted cows from calves. Cows were let back into the pasture and calves were loaded onto trucks. They then made the short journey down to the corrals at home where the hay had been placed on Monday. This is a very stressful time for the calves. To help, we have them vaccinated a couple weeks ahead of time and plenty of food and water to drink. Mineral and salt are kept out so they shouldn’t be short of anything. We try to watch them very carefully to make sure they are all staying healthy.
The next day we moved another bunch of cow/calf pairs. This was a smaller bunch and they only had a short trail. It was nice and, for once in the week, simple. No corrals, no sorting, just simply from pasture A to pasture B. This gave us time to keep an eye on the freshly weaned calves.
Friday took us back up to the top of the mountain. We gathered the cows that had been sorted off on Wednesday and put them in a small pasture around the corral. We then made sure everything was ready for Saturday: panels set, corral in working order, pour on and vaccine ready to go, etc.
Cows were preg tested Saturday. The same system as with the heifers: preg check, vaccinate, pour. Opens were sorted off with the open heifers and pregnant cows were sent back to the pasture. Old cows (9 yrs and up) had their teeth checked because at this age they start to lose them. If they are losing teeth we may keep them in from going to the badlands and give them soft hay to eat this winter. If they are having a hard time keeping their body condition, they may be sold later this fall.
We also did one more thing Saturday: liver biopsies. This was new for us. We kept a few heifers and cows back for the vet to take a sample of their livers. The very small samples are being sent to a lab and the results should tell us if we have any mineral deficiencies. We can then compensate for these deficiencies with our mineral program.
This morning we loaded our open cows and heifers on a truck. The truck hauled them to Riverton to be sold. It marked the end of this busy week. We have one more smaller bunch that the calves need to be vaccinated and weaned and the cows need to be preg checked, but it is a big relief to have the majority of the cows done.
I hope you all had an amazing week. Don’t forget that our beef is on sale! If you or anyone you know is interested, please get in touch.
by Brandon Greet