Shipping the Calves

Ok, ok, ok. I know it’s been over a month since I posted about the fall gathering of the calves, and I said then that I would post the second half soon. Then…..well then quite honestly, I forgot. I do that. More frequently than I want to admit. More frequently than I can probably remember. More frequently than, well, I’m going to just stop now. While I’m ahead. If I am, if not, it’s still a good time to stop.

Anyway, I am here to finally share the pictures with you.

So they have gathered the cows with their babies and we discussed how this is not something that should cause us angst, as the mammas are ready for some alone time and the calves are ready to get away from their nagging moms. They sorted off the heifer calves that they will use to replace some of the older cows. They then separated the steer calves from the heifer calves as they ship at different times. Lastly they sorted off any of the cows that were dry ( have lost their calves somewhere down the line andΒ  therefore their udders are dry or that turned out to not be pregnant when preg-checked ) or that just aren’t looking all that good. They go to their own sales.

When this is all done and they have checked and checked again to make sure all are where they are supposed to be, the trucks come and one of the busiest times of the year is almost over.

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They sort out which ones will go on which truck

They sort out which ones will go on which truck

They gather a bunch

They gather a bunch

and then push them onto the scales to be weighed in.

and then push them onto the scales to be weighed in.

There is a lot of foot work during this process and some workers feel left out.

There is a lot of foot work during this process and some workers feel left out.

When they are all sorted into their respective groups, they are loaded up

When they are all sorted into their respective groups, they are loaded up

and off they go on their mama-free road trip.

and off they go on their mama-free road trip.

During the next couple of days they keep the cows close while they adjust to their new-found freedom. If you take them out to pasture right away, they come right back to here looking for their babies, going through fences if need be. After they have adjusted, they go out to their respective winter pastures.

I know that there are some people who find this whole process heartless. I want to impress upon you though, one fact. It is true that some ranches don’t take the best care of their animals. In most cases though, the ranchers really do care about the animals they are raising. Think about the amount of work, the hours, the weather, everything, that goes into this process.It’s not a vacation.Β You don’t choose this work if you don’t care about animals. You have to care, otherwise, it’s not worth it. Trust me!

Love from sub-zero here,

Bobbie

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9 thoughts on “Shipping the Calves

  1. About 30 years ago I watched some cattle load into a couple of these trailers…we called them bull haulers. Some of bravest men and women on this planet are the people that are inside those trailers when the cattle are being loaded, poking the cattle to go this way, or that, or up this ramp, or not… I’m still amazed at how they do it. Keeping in mind, when the cattle are loaded they are doing everything imaginable except walking. Most impressive. Again, thanks for the memory.

  2. For a city slicker (and an Asian one at that), this look into a rancher’s life and business is fascinating… I do know I would not be able to do it – physically and emotionally! Gotta love Montana folks!

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