Working Cattle

Cows began calving in late February. Most had calved by the beginning of April. At about four months of age, it is important that calves are ‘worked’. This includes vaccinating, ear tagging, treating for internal &  external parasites, & castrating most bull calves. Cows & bulls also receive a round of vaccinations at this time. We spent July & the first part of August working the herds of cattle.

To have a proper vaccination program, calves must be vaccinated several times. Vaccinating calves at an appropriate age is important to build a healthy immune system to fight diseases they could encounter when being weaned from their mothers.

Cows & bulls receive vaccinations for reproductive diseases & as annual boosters to vaccinations they received as calves.

It is important that each calf has an ear tag in order to provide proof of ownership & to be able to associate the calf with its herd. Herds are based on which pasture a group of cattle is in. This is important because each herd has its own bull. The ear tag numbers are recorded, which allows us to identify the calf with its dam {mother} & sire {father}.

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Cows, bulls, & calves are all treated for internal & external parasites with a pour-on solution. This solution is squirted across their back. It is then absorbed through the skin & distributed internally to the areas of the body affected by parasites.

Some bull calves are selected to be kept as bulls for our own breeding purposes or to be sold, while others are castrated. Since the calves are so young & there are no records other than dam & sire, eye appeal & temperament are the greatest factors that go 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.

Herds of cattle will once again be gathered in October when it is time to wean the calves.