It is finally spring here at the ranch! The weather the past few days has been warm and sunny, and it is about time. We are enjoying the sunshine and so are the cattle. Daffodils are blooming, the fruit trees are budding and the spring grass is fresh and green.
We have worked really hard over the winter - sometimes in the snow and rain - to complete our new cattle handling facility and they guys did a wonderful job building a really secure system. We used it for the first time this week and it worked great. It allows us to work the cattle in a way that is safe for them and for us, with a minimum of stress for everyone involved; both bovine and human. The new chute and pens were put to good use in our annual "round-up." With our vet, we run each of our cattle through the chute so we can check them for any health problems that might need attention. Fortunately, everyone wintered over in good shape and the vet was really pleased with their condition. While they are in the chute they are also tagged, vaccinated and wormed so they are ready for the move to our summer pasture. A spring check-up for cattle.
After the round-up we let them rest for a day, then we put them back through the chute and loaded them into the trailer for the ride to our summer pasture. It is only a half a mile down the road and it takes longer to load the trailer than it does to drive there but that is our big cattle trip for the year.
The cattle are sometimes a bit leery when they are loaded into the trailer, but as soon as they get a whiff of the fresh spring grass they are ready to be out the door and into the pasture. And who can blame them? Fresh grass is naturally the best feed for cattle and they seem to know it as it is also their favorite. It is nice to see them wander through the pasture with their heads down grazing on the green grass in the fresh air and sunshine. Good for them, good for us and good for our grass fed beef customers.
We practice management intensive grazing so the cattle will be rotated onto fresh grass quite often. We do this for a couple of reasons. First, it gives the cattle the freshest grass to graze on. Second it allows the pasture to time recover and the grass to re-grow without being over grazed. It is a system that works with nature and works well for the animals.
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