Working Cattle In The Spring

(Today, I have a guest photographer. Please welcome Gitzy and her wonderful photographs.)

Twice each year, in the spring and again in the fall, we work our cattle. We round them up, give them all shots and move them from one pasture to another. In the spring, we get them up from the spring pasture where they’ve been hanging out with their calves for the last few months, and move them via semi truck a couple hours to the summer pasture where they will stay until November. It’s a yearly cycle, and part of the changing seasons for us.  So a week ago Sunday, Harland with the help of his nephew and brother, rounded up the herd with 4 wheelers into the cattle lot. There, the cows were sorted (separated) from the calves.

Cows go out of the pen, and calves stay in.

This is done to protect the calves from injury. Cows can get so worked up when handling they can trample their own calves by accident, so for safety’s sake, we put the calves in their own pen. Then we (notice I use the term we loosely. I hang out on the periphery helping out where I can) drive a small group of cows into the chute

where they get their shots

and pour-on.

The shots are for illnesses that would prevent the cows from getting pregnant, or losing their calves(they have a date with the bull in less than a month),  and the pour-on is for treatment of worms and to keep flies at bay. Then they are let out of the chute and another group of cows is chased in for their shots. After the cows are done, then the calves get their shots for pinkeye and blackleg.

And the guys get kicked by the calves with their little pointy hooves. This is always the guys’ favorite job of the day. Not.

Then we eat lunch and kill some time while waiting for the semi-truck to arrive.

Upon it’s arrival, it backs up to the chute, the cattle are driven up into the truck,

the trucker puts them into different compartments to evenly distribute the load,

and then the truck leaves for the 2 hour trip to the summer pasture.

We load up the calves into our stock trailer (more kicking from the calves and bruised shins)

and then we’re off to the pasture as well.

At the pasture, the cows are unloaded first into one pen.

They look longingly at the acres of lush green grass. And then they remember their calves and call them.

LOUDLY.

We unload the calves into a separate pen,

and open the gate between them so the cows and calves can reunite. The cows can’t wait for their babies to nurse. It’s been a long day and their udders are full to bursting.

“Nurse faster kid, nurse faster.  Ahhhhh…….”

We let them all settle down for about an hour, so everybody calms down and gets their bearings. Then, we open the gate to cow paradise:  Acres and acres and acres of grass and shade.  Here’s a short video of the best part of the day:

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Thanks for coming along, and hope you enjoyed the trip.

Please stop by the gift shop on your way out.

-And a big Thank You to Gitzy for your beautiful pictures. You can see more of her work here.