Tag Archives: cow
Life is never dull on a ranch.
One moment you are making deviled ranch eggs and raiding your Parent’s freezer for a BBQ and the next moment you are screaming bloody murder because one of the biggest rattlesnakes you have seen lately is right where you park your truck.
I just had a very upsetting nightmare where I stepped on a rattlesnake but I didn’t kill it, I was screaming for help, but no one could hear me. I was stuck on a mad, live snake! I knew I was going to die!!!!
When I saw this snake, I put everything I had into screaming for help, just in case my dream actually came true!
Thankfully, my Mom did hear me and helped kill this bad boy snake. But not before I managed to hurt my vocal chords by screaming like a Banshee. After we killed it, I went back to get the rattles and it moved and peed on me, so I screamed again. That probably didn’t help my voice either.
We always are careful to remove the snake’s head to prevent any accidents. We’ve heard enough horror stories about people getting bitten after the snake was killed or meat bees eating the poison and stinging people or animals. The head is placed into a bag and thrown away, safe from meat bees and animals.
Rattlesnakes are a fact of life here on the ranch. Inevitably, we always have at least one cow or calf get bitten every year. Worst case scenario is the animal dies. The best case is we have a hurt cow or a calf that will never fully recover.
It is always upsetting when we kill a snake around the houses. Although we know the snakes are here, we don’t often see them, so we can pretend they don’t exist. But then you have a scare, and it is ALWAYS when you aren’t paying attention, wearing your office flats (not snake boots) and you have a puppy frolicking at your feet. For the next few weeks, we will be on high alert, every stick will be a snake, the wind moving the leaves in the trees will be upset snakes! Eventually we will relax again, but the cycle will continue.
Everyone is safe and healthy, so this was a good reminder that we need to pay attention. Well, maybe not totally healthy….
I really did hurt my vocal chords when I screamed. Ever since we killed the snake, I’ve been a raspy, squeaky mess. I am a whisper nervous about this because on Thursday I am going to be a panelist at the 2014 CropLife America Policy Conference . I’ve been trying not to talk and eating lots of ice cream and drinking lots of honey tea, so I know I’ll be fine!
If you have a few minutes Thursday morning, please consider streaming this event on your computer! I am so excited to be apart of this and want to share it with my readers!
Back when I was a youth and heavily involved with 4-H and FFA, I raised market steers. It was a huge source of pride for me, that I would select, raise and show one of my own family’s steers. Our cattle are bred to be beef, not to win grand champion at cattle shows. Because of that I only won champion once in my whole 4-H and FFA career, HOWEVER I won or placed in the carcass contest (that is when the steer’s carcass is graded and judged) almost every year, and for a cattleperson, that values my final product, that meant tons more than a purple ribbon.
My cattle weren’t always “fluffly” at the fair (that means they didn’t have a lot of hair for me to style), but I was confident whoever purchased my calf was going to get a prime piece of beef that they would remember for years to come. I still have this same level of confidence when it comes to our cattle.
You remember that I quit my full-time job in town last spring. I am now living the dream on the ranch. Since I don’t have a steady income, my parents have graciously given me some steers to supplement my hog and sheep income. It has been a huge transition for me, to go from a salaried check every two weeks, to a couple of unknown checks a year. Budgeting is hard! These steers will be the majority of my income for the year – they will determine my quality of life, they will pay my bills. Because of this, because I know my current way of life depends on these animals, I want to do the best I can.
I want my clients to have an opportunity to purchase “prime” beef. Prime is the grade of beef that you get in fancy, expensive steakhouses. It is delicious. To get prime beef you need to have several things:
- good genetics
- good feed
- age (older calves tend to grade better than younger)
- happy, healthy cattle (no stress and a great vaccination plan)
Since I have excellent herd genetics, I have access to grain, grass, protein minerals, hay and almond parts, my calves will be coming 24 months, and they are not stressed and are healthy, I know I can grow some great beef. I know it.
This week my Dad and I created a place for me to “finish” these steers. Since they already weigh around 1,150 pounds and are fairly fat, they will not take long to finish out. Basically by giving these steers grain, they will gain faster and the meat will taste less like grass and more like creamy, beefy deliciousness. If I had to guess, I will probably have them slaughtered around 1,400 pounds.
The only reason I am able to do grain finished steers this year is because the price of corn is low, so I can actually afford it, and the drought. I have no grass to finish cattle on right now – so I either hauled these guys to the auction yard or I feed them grain, and I have too many people that wanted to buy local beef this year to auction yard them. I’ve been after my Dad for a few years to let me finish some beef with grain, so this is actually exciting for me. The one thing I forgot to plan for was – I don’t get to keep one of these to eat. I am raising some of the best beef of my life and it’s already spoken for. It’s my secret hope that this beef is so beautiful (and it will be), that my Dad decides that I need to do this again next year! Come back soon and I’ll let you know how they finished!
For other local meat options check out:
Our friend Pete Neer came over for dinner, but ended up being put to work! We’ve had a really aggressive strain of pink eye hit our cattle. We’ve been very pro-active, treating them for flies (that helps prevent the spread), giving them minerals (healthy cows are happy cows!), and staying on top of the sick ones.
Despite our best effort to prevent illness in our cattle, we’ve had to treat some.
We used antibiotics on this calf because if we wouldn’t have the calf would have been in a lot of pain, and lost his eye. He’ll be sold separate from the rest if our herd, but that will be next year. By that time, no residue will be left. I use AB’s as a last ditch effort, very carefully, and very respectfully.
When we use antibiotics it costs us a lot of money. Not something that a ranch wants to do. It’s costs us to treat the calf and after it is treated, it’s not worth as much money because we can’t sell it as ‘natural’. That is why we work so hard to keep our cattle healthy. Quite simply, our consumers demand it, and we want them happy.
That is me screaming because my Dad wasn’t paying attention when that cow was in front of us! I thought he was going to hit her!
The calf is now fine. He can see, he feels good, he is healthy. It’s really amazing how one little shot can save a life.