Most of you already know that due to health issues I wasn’t able to raise my beloved batch of bottle baby calves this year as I usually do. And as a result RancherMan purchased bottle-fed calves that had already been weaned to pasture so that I could still enjoy their cuteness.
Tough days. I love raising bottle babies each spring but my health prevented it this year. So RancherMan found someone selling a set of bottle babies. They had already been weaned to pasture so that I could still get a dose of that bottle-baby sweetness.
When they were purchased this spring they were brought to our Homestead. Not only to allow me to scratch their cute heads every day but also for us to monitor them to make sure they would all do well in our program.
As they grew larger we began moving them to our offsite pasture to finish growing.
We were forced to reduce our herd in 2011 and 2012 due to the gripping drought that held us captive those years. We have maintained a lower stocking rate and use temporary stocker cows of different breeds during times when the grass was plentiful, selling them when the grass waned. It was a painful decision but that flexibility allowed us to continue our ranching operation and emerge strong.
Working for yourself requires a special dynamic. You must wear all hats – Public Relations Manager, Information Technology Director, CEO and CFO. And your paycheck doesn’t come at all unless you do your job well, even with circumstances that are beyond your control.
Last year we purchased our stocker calves the same as we do each year. We brought those calves home and gave them their health workup and immunizations. We poured them for parasites and castrated and dehorned where needed. Then we put those calves out on the most lush green winter pasture we had ever had. They were calm and happy, and they grew fat off of our careful attention to detail.
We’ve all heard this at one time or another. Maybe at the vet, maybe at the auction or even while helping a friend work some new cattle. Wild cow!
No matter how hard you try or how carefully you watch them come through the ring, once in a while you end up with one. And once you get them home it doesn’t take long to figure out that this cow is going to be trouble.
Professional Cattle handlers wrangling a wild cow for us
We raise registered Hereford cows as our primary ranch mission. But we also have stocker cows/calves that we keep on a shorter-term basis to make proper use of our pasture grass excesses. We feel good about the fact that the stockers that come here are treated kindly and are allowed to just be cows – grazing under that blue Texas sky and interacting daily with us and all their cow friends. Our clients have said they appreciate the benefits of a calm animal that’s been treated with kindness and respect. We think it’s just the right thing to do.
There’s an old saying: “Make hay while the sun shines”. Although you can’t control the weather, it’s important when you work outside for a living to work as closely in tune with nature as you can.
When I worked in a corporate environment in the city my days were much the same. Get up, get dressed, drive to work – sit at a desk all day long, come home, LIVE LIFE. (Shower/Sleep/Repeat).
Now that my days are filled with ranch duties workdays are not only much longer since we work weekends and holidays, they’re less comfortable since there’s no climate control in the pastures, and they’re infinitely more fulfilling since I LOVE what I do!