Ranch work is truly never done. So now it is time to saddle up again for Fall work. This work is all about the health of the Cow. A vaccine protocol and worming regimen has already been discussed with our vet Dr. George Beeler. He works with us on a health plan that fits our ranch – our environment. We are not administering antibiotics – these are vaccines administered as preventative measures against diseases that are prevalent in our area. This ranch is certified under Texas Beef Quality Assurance Standards. That means we adhere to certain standards about vaccines, injection sites, and animal welfare.
Now days before, the actual work – we have been working every day gathering the cattle into smaller pastures. Each time we move the cattle to smaller pastures closer to the working pens. This means less stress on the cow – she feels like she is just being moved to another pasture with plenty of grass and fresh water. The day we work – she will have less distance to travel to the pens – this really matters when it is 105 degrees.
So we are up early – 5:00 AM – head down to the barn to get the horses fed – then saddled. Vaccines have to be put into coolers. Syringes – needles – ropes – wormer – numbered ear tags –supplies put in the truck. Fall work also means palpation – this is checking the cow to see if she is pregnant and how far along she is. Every cow is tagged with a number. We use CattleMax for our ranch records and every cow is input into that system. Every piece of information about that cow is recorded – when she was born or when she was purchased from whom and for how much – when she was vaccinated; with what; and why – how many calves she has had and any calving problems – any illnesses and how she was treated. We know every detail about each cow – her breed – her age – her medical history – her calving history – even her attitude.
The cows are brought in to the pens – a few at a time are brought around into the chute – then into the squeeze chute where Dr. Beeler will first preg test. We note the months of her pregnancy. Then Dr. Beeler checks her body condition – every part of her body (right down to her hooves) is checked to be sure she is healthy and strong. She must be able to birth, care for, and raise a healthy calf. She is vaccinated and given a wormer – then turned back out into her pasture.
And now – we wait – we wait for the babies – and the next cycle of life to begin.