The vet is coming tomorrow to vaccinate the calves and check if the cows and heifers who were in with the bulls are in fact pregnant. That means we’ll be running everyone through the barn. Today’s task was getting everyone moved to a convenient location. Welcome back!
There is a pasture behind the barn which we use as a holding area for steers that have been marked for slaughter. We typically keep 4-10 steers in there at any given moment. Currently there are 5 steers residing in said pasture. They had to be moved to the pasture directly south of the barn to make way for cow group 2.
Cow group 2 is the group on the far side of the creek. We needed to run them across the creek into the holding pasture, but before we could do that we needed to get the yearlings out of the woods. They’ll be spending the next 48 hours in the barn. To get them from the woods into the barn we ran them through the holding pasture. Don’t worry. I have a drawing to help make sense of all this. Just keep scrolling down.
So, step 1: move the steers. Step 2: move the yearlings. Step 3: move group 2.
Moving the steers was easy. They are a pretty cooperative bunch and can often be moved by just one person. This morning one must’ve still be sleeping because he kept dropping behind the group so I had to walk him up while Steve drove the other 4 on the ATV.
Next we moved the calves. My favorite task! Thankfully Ryan was here. All but one cooperated. They had to go through a gate and turn left down the lane. Well, one guy turned left before exiting the gate. Everyone else was in the lane, but he was still in the pasture walking along with the herd, but on the wrong side of the fence. Luckily there was another gate that we’d opened in anticipation of this happening. Steve and I worked him towards that gate and he reunited with his friends in the holding pasture. From there we worked them into the barn. Again there was one laggard who I had to walk up. At least I got my exercise!
Finally we needed to bring group 2 across the creek into the holding pasture. Last time we did this we had calves running amok in the creek and no one was in the mood to deal with that today. Ryan called them through to the creek and Steve and I jumped in behind to keep them moving in the right direction. The key was to keep them moving, but not push too much so they panic. Last time the group got too spread out. The cattle at the front of the group spooked at the gate and had too much room to turn around. This caused the rest of the group to turn, but with people behind and in front, they had no where to go but into the creek. The goal today was to keep them tight so no one would try to turn and to keep them moving forward.
It worked! They cooperated beautifully. Right at the very end we had about 7 calves stop in the creek for a drink so Steve and I also stopped. We waited for them to notice us and as soon as they did they ran to rejoin the herd. Now everyone is where they need to be for now. Tomorrow we’ll have to sort cows from calves, bred cows from unbred, etc. But that is tomorrow. Today we can sleep well knowing all the groups are right where we want them.