Weaning Lambs & Working Cattle

During June, much time was spent gathering ewes & lambs. We drenched the ewes & lambs for stomach worms & vaccinated the lambs for enterotoxemia (overeating)  & tetanus. Overeating disease can occur when there are abrupt changes in feed {i.e. weaning nursing lambs from the ewe & placing them on a prepared ration}.

We turned the ewes back into the pastures & put the lambs in the feedlot. In the feedlot, they are fed a prepared ration.

Having the lambs on feed keeps them in an environment that breaks the life cycle of the stomach worms, out of coyote feeding grounds, & makes them readily available to sell for upcoming key Islamic holidays.

Much time over the past month has been spent with the cattle. Pasture by pasture, we have gathered & worked the cows, calves, & bulls.

Calves were about four months of age when they were ‘worked’ (vaccinating, ear tagging, treating for internal & external parasites, & castrating most bull calves). Cows & bulls also receive a round of vaccinations at this time.

Vaccinating calves at an appropriate age is important to build a healthy immune system to fight diseases. Cows & bulls receive vaccinations for reproductive diseases & as annual boosters to vaccinations they received as calves.

Ear tags provide proof of ownership & associate a calf to a specific herd.

Calves, cows, & bulls are all treated for internal & external parasites through a pour-on solution applied across their back.

Most bull calves are castrated, while some are kept as bulls (for our own breeding purposes or to be sold to other cattle producers). Since the calves are so young & there are no records other than dam & sire, eye appeal is the greatest factor that goes into selecting ‘keeper’ bulls. There are several benefits to castrating bull calves that
are not going to be used in a breeding program. Castration reduces aggressiveness & sexual activity by lowering testosterone levels. It also creates a higher quality carcass-more consistent, marbled, & tender beef. Steers are much easier to handle. Bulls tear up
facilities & injure each other fighting, which is why keeping bull numbers at a minimum is important.

Over the next couple of weeks, we will finish up working the herds of cattle.