Tag Archives: calf
We made the transition from herefords to black angus in the early 1990’s. The black calves simply brought more money at auction and they seem to have fewer health problems, like cancer eye. We have one or two old black baldy cows left, but, for the most part all that’s left of our hereford herd are old pictures like the one below. I enjoy looking at old pictures of livestock to see how breeding trends have changed. This guy below reminds me of a buffalo!
Breeding trends are especially interesting in reference to sustainability. My Dad often shares how he remembered selling calves that were two years old and 800 lbs., now we sell our 12/13 month old steers at a base weight of 850 lbs. (in a good feed year). How did we do this? Genetics, an awesome vaccination program, good nutrition, using modern technology that was available to us. In addition to improving our herd, we also improved our land. I mentioned before we laser leveled our fields to improve production. We also leave each ranch empty for 6 months out of the year. We practice rotational grazing and attempt to mimic a natural cycle.
I’ve been told that it takes 19% less feed, 12% less water, 33% less land per unit of beef produced today as compared to 1977. By looking at old pictures it really helps me to “see” the comparative advantage. It seems like animal ag has made some pretty big advance in the past 30 years. It’s exciting to see what the next 30 will bring!
“I no longer want to eat that big ass steak I wanted seeing your pictures last week. I think it’s the poop and the blood and stuff together. I mean, I can blow someone’s head off in a video game and be fine, but this makes my stomach turn. Which means that you posting this is a good thing, because I feel like the reverse should be true”… – James Wall
I’m glad my friend James agrees with me. Again I think as a society we are removed from all things gross, unless it is in the movies, on TV or in a video game. Since we dealt with death last week, we deal with life this week, here is my Wordless Wednesday.
Again – if you have questions, please leave me a comment or drop me an e-mail. I will answer anything you want to know.
Cattle sometimes need help giving birth or “calving”. This happens for a variety of reasons – from using bulls whose EPD’s are too high, or simply a baby calf gets twisted around. Often time heifers or – cows that have never given birth – need the most help. Remember the blog post I did a while back about how we check if a cow is pregnant (https://megraeb.wordpress.com/2011/04/21/how-do-you-know-if-a-cow-is-pregnant/), this heifer is from that same herd.
This heifer needed some help giving birth because the calf was twisted all around. My Dad is a champion calf puller – he’s been doing it his whole life.
He reaches in and adjusts the calf. Then he affixes “calf pulling” chains to the calf’s front legs. If he didn’t use the chains both he and the calf risk more injury. When the cow has her next contraction and pushes, my Dad pulls and the baby is welcomed into the world.
We place the cow in the squeeze chute for two reasons. The first being it keeps the cow still so my Dad can help her, without getting killed. Second is the pressure from the chute calms the cow. The cattle are not being mistreated here. This is standard industry practice and if we didn’t intervene chances are very high both Mama and baby would die.
Concerned Mama waiting for her baby to come out of the chute.
My Dad picks the baby up and places her in the pen with her Mama so they can bond.
She loves her baby!
Right before my Dad starts dry heaving (one would think that after 50+ years he’d stop that).
The nursery field. Cows that have new babies are all put in a field with short grass (so we can see them), that is not being irrigated (so they don’t get sick) and they are all together so we can check them easily. It’s probably one of the cutest things ever – a whole pasture full of racing, Angus babies.
Photos from Sharon Brown