Moving Cows and Bulls From Here to There and Everywhere

Moving Cows and Bulls From Here to There and Everywhere


Hi I’m Mike and every day on the ranch is
filled with hard work in order to bring food to your plate and as we are now less than
one week from shipping calves off to auction, it’s time to move some cows around in order
to make room for the over 300 cows and calves that will be on their way back to the corrals
in the next few days. We have to move heifers, steers, bulls and
our bottle calves to new pastures today as we play musical cows, on our Wyoming life. When it comes to space here on the ranch we
have plenty of it, but as we get closer to selling calves, which happens next week, well,
that means that all the cows will soon be back here at home on about 7 acres. All 160 of them plus all their calves. It makes for some cramped quarters. At the moment, we have steers, heifers and
bulls all right here at home as well as the bottle calves talking up some corral space
that we are going to need soon too. So, today we get to move a bunch of cows around. It’s kind of like three card monte. Ya move the bottle calves here, ya shuffle
heifers there, steers go over here and bulls go in their winter pasture. Then you move the bottle calves back over
here and the heifers go in a trailer to move to…. well I’m not even sure yet. One thing I do know is that I planned to get
some cool drone shots of me moving cows but because we have a nice gentle wind blowing
out of the west at about 300 miles per hour. That’s not going to happen, the drone hates
the wind and unless you want to see me crash the drone in about 3 seconds, it can stay
in its box. Instead of the drone, I have a few cameras
that I’m going to be moving around and a new go pro that I’m going to wear to give
you that first person perspective. I’ll do my best, but keep in mind it’s
just me out here, no help and no cameraman. Let’s get to it. The easiest place to start is the closest,
our bottle calves, or calves that either lost their moms after birth or their moms wouldn’t
take them or some other goofy thing happened. However, they ended up here, they are orphans,
most of them were hand fed until they were old enough to eat food on their own and rather
than stick them back out with the cows where they could get lost or confused we kept them
close to home. They have been living in this corral for the
last few months but now this corral is needed for the steers, who we will deal with in a
few minutes. The easiest place to move the bottle calves
to, that is out of the way for a while is into the barn, at least until we get done
moving all the other cows around. They are pretty docile, they are used to people
moving them around and move into the barn with little effort, although I don’t think
they are too happy about it. The steers are hanging out just outside of
the bottle calves old corral which will soon become their corral. Steers are bull calves that have been castrated. We don’t do it just for fun, it’s actually
a very vital procedure that makes them easier to deal with than a young and rowdy bull and
it also makes them gain weight faster. That’s important, because these steers are
being raised for their meat. Up until now they have been eating grass and
hay but starting today they will begin getting a daily ration of corn, oats and barley. The amount that they get is carefully figured
based on their average weight and over the next couple of months the ration will be increased
as they gain weight. When they reach about 1200lbs they will be
taken to a USDA inspected processing facility and returned to us as about 500 lbs. of beef
that we sell to our farmers market customers. There are seven steers, so when we butcher
our freezers will be filled with almost 2 tons of hamburger, steaks and roasts, or about
the same weight as the average American car. In the end that works out to almost 30,000
dollars in beef before expenses and if we never sold packages or put it on sale. A lot of work but a huge part of our business. Getting the steers into their new corral and
eating their new feed is a big step to clearing out the corrals and pastures getting ready
for cows to come home but a lot more is needed done as we begin working with the heifers. The heifers are all first-time moms, they
were bred for the first time this summer to a heifer bull, roughly the same age as them
at about 15 months old. After checking them by ultrasound about a
month ago to find out who was and who wasn’t pregnant they were moved into this corral. Where they have anxiously been waiting for
the next step in their lives. After preg checking we found out that 2 of
these heifers are not pregnant. One is our daughter Grace’s, which we will
be keeping to try again next year, the other was found by ultrasound to have under-developed
ovaries and will never be able to get pregnant. She will be sold but before we can get there
we have to sort both of them off of the other heifers. Doing so means that we have to move them into
one corral then make the heifers we don’t want to sort off go back into the other corral. Sometimes it works perfectly. Other times you have a cow like 80, who is
one of our oldest and a pet cow try to help but she usually ends up in the way. But through a bit of moving and shaking you
can get the heifers you need sorted off. We are going to put them in with the steers
for now so that they are out of the way, as we move the rest of the heifers up into the
loading corral and onto a waiting trailer to move them to a new pasture, where they
will spend the winter. Keeping them separate from the other cows
until after they have their calves in the spring. They are due about a month before the other
cows and because heifers are notorious for having complications during the birth process
we like to keep them separate that way we can devote a lot of our time taking care of
them. Once the first batch is loaded into the trailer,
they are taken to their new pasture and dropped off. Then we go back and get the rest, releasing
them as close as possible to their friends, where they go right to work eating the new
grass they have found. Well, we are almost done, but we have saved
what could be the most problematic bovines till the last. The bulls. These guys have been sorted off of the cows
for the last couple of weeks and have been living out on pasture, separated from the
cows by just a few fences. Bulls are stubborn animals. They learned somewhere along the line that
if they don’t want to move, you can’t make them. Each full-grown bull weighs over 2000 lbs.
and if pushed too hard they will start to push back and that can make for a very bad
day. One of the techniques that I try to practice
on the ranch is low stress cattle handling. Basically, that means that you try to stress
the animals as little as possible, taking your time and being incredibly patient. This is our youngest bull, the heifer bull,
who was turned out with the cows after he was done with the heifers. With him you can definitely tell that he hasn’t
learned the bullish way of only moving when he wants, he’s more skittish and tends to
run and move around more than the older bulls. Call it old age or just being stubborn in
their old age but you will rarely get an older bull moving like this. One trick that I have learned over the years
with the bulls is to find the alpha bull, just like dogs, wolves, or even elephants
the herd mentality is in full effect with the bulls. There is an alpha bull, the one in charge
and occasionally another bull will challenge him and want to move up in the pecking order. Bull fights can be epic and go on for hours
and usually leave a bull injured or even lame, which happened to this black bull. He challenged our red bull, named Bubbles
for supremacy of the herd and ended up going lame on his back leg. He now has a pronounced limp. And because of that he will not be effective
in breeding next year. After allowing him to heal for a few weeks
its evident that it’s a permanent injury and he will need to be sold, more than likely
I will end up taking him to auction with our heifer that can’t get pregnant, so because
of that he will need to be sorted off as well. It looks like Bubbles is still the alpha bull
and after getting him moving in the right direction the rest of the bulls move along
with him, from one pasture to the next and eventually into the corrals and on to the
trailer. Bubbles is not only our alpha bull but he
is also the oldest bull on the ranch and he’s has been through this a few times and he leads
two other bulls, including the heifer bull right onto the trailer. Once inside the trailer, pandemonium breaks
out as a bull fight starts inside the trailer. Bulls do well when out in a bigger area but
the closer they are to each other, the more aggravated they become and it’s imperative
to get them out of the trailer as soon as possible before another bull gets hurt. Getting them to their winter pasture and out
of the trailer, where everything calms down quickly. We still have two more black bulls to get
back to the corral and after some coaxing they begin to move in the right direction
and into the corrals, where I can them split them up, keeping our lame bull back and moving
the other black bull up into the trailer. But it’s not that easy, he doesn’t want
to leave his friend. With some patience though and light nudging
he eventually gets with the program and loads up in the trailer himself where the door is
closed and he is taken to the bull pasture with his other friends. The lame bull is kept back and separated until
it’s time to sell him, he’s fed and the other bulls in the bull pasture also get a
bale of hay to keep them occupied while they get used to their new homes. Back at the barn the bottle calves are let
out after being cooped up in the barn and seem to be happy about being outside once
again. Now we are ready to bring the cows home. Next week we will be sorting off their calves,
loading them on semi-trailers and taking them to auction in south Dakota. I hope you stick with us as we head into the
payoff for the ranch, the one big payday that makes it all worth it, from feeding all winter
long to calving in the middle of spring snow storms, haying and fencing and all the little
projects that come up on the ranch every day. Our goal here is give you an inside look at
how food gets from our ranch to your table, whether is beef, pork or veggies, there is
a story behind every bite, and we are happy to share our story with you. Subscribe and find us on Facebook and Instagram
and make sure you don’t miss a thing. Have some great week and thanks for joining
us in our Wyoming life.

83 Comments

  1. Your a darn good cattle mover Mike! I hope you have help separating the calves from their mom's next week. I bet the bellering will be deafening!! Great vlog, as always! Deb
    P.S. The wind has finally stopped this am. Hope it's died down a bit on the prairie.

  2. I just got my last 2 cows brought home yesterday now we have to race to sell calves before Trump makes anymore plans and the bottom falls out of our market in Canada lol   It will all work out in the end he has sure helped the people he promised to help.  I have a 2 year old bull that hurt his back fighting after we pulled the bulls you can't notice anything now but he will go to town rather than risking problems when it's breeding season.

  3. Good morning neighbors! Some jobs on the ranch are pretty boring, I guess not everyday can be filled with fun and excitement. Although even some of the boring jobs can be exciting for stretches. This week we get ready for the day we sell calves and to do that we need to move some cows and bulls around. Get them to their winter pasture and out of the way when 300 cows and calves will need all this room next week.
    Its one of those things that needs done, and cant be put off. Lets get to it.

  4. Hey Mike! Love your videos, I think you do a great job managing your ranch too. I have a question though, do you ever ride your horses?

  5. Well I sure hope you are allowed to video at the auction I know I am a bunch of your other viewers would sure like to know the ins and outs of cattle auctions. Are you planning on buying while you're there too or just selling only? Sure hope you make out big after seeing how much hard work you put in to it through your videos

  6. Hey Mike my wife and I purchased 22 Acres a couple years back that we plan on building on and making a little hobby Ranch I guess you could say I know 22 Acres is a drop in the bucket compared to y'all but I had a question on how would I get started in getting cattle would I go to an auction and buy Cavs or buy bred heifers what's your expert opinion?

  7. Hey Mike, Does it annoy you when the bulls fight for dominance, knowing that the outcome may cost you money? Or do you just look at it as a cost of business?

  8. I still think we should crowdfund together some money to save Gunther. IIRC you said it was $800, I think we could raise that fairly quickly.

  9. Great video, was lucky with Dairy to not have to deal with any bulls on the farm. I like the low stress approach to handling cattle.

  10. looking forward to the auction. We too had a gentle means of moving cattle on our farm growing up, Grandfather insisted the stress free approach had many benefits, and with the few issues we had over the years I'd say he was right. Thank you for the wonderful videos.

  11. Guy in WY sent me over, i enjoy farming channels because of the deep respect i have for what you do for the rest of us citizens.

  12. Just joined the HERD. Messed with cows & farming growing up, just seems natural to watch. If you really want a great angus bull, a local man owns Willow Oak. He sells bulls that are so gentle that he will buy back, if it has a bad attitude. You can walk up to rub on, scratch, lead anything you want to these bulls, he guaranteeds its attitude. They bring a pretty price,but people line up to buy them. He has a website. Hope to see some good things on here. Good Luck

  13. Great video.  I did not know what bottle calves were.  Thought maybe they were just baby calves that needed to be kept together for some reason.  Interesting story behind how they became bottle calves.  I see the care/caution you use around the bulls.  They seem pretty scary large.

  14. Great video! I'm so glad I came across your channel. I'll be watching all your other videos too now that I'm a fan. Keep up the great work! By the way, Mike, I think you have an amazing voice. Your voice is as powerful and stoic like Morgan Freeman's.

  15. I noticed in your calf birthing prep video that there was a sign on the wall saying foreclosure pending. What's up with that? Is it a motivational thing?

  16. Great video just found you guys , I,v always been interested in farming and also I have to say if ranching dosn't work out you might want to try broadcasting you have a perfect radio voice , thanks for the vid !

  17. Wish I could make a trip to your Farmer's Market meat.!! I don't know what is done to meat anymore. Hamburger I cooked from Albertsons for Tacos has the texture of plastic and no taste to speak of. So I have basically given up on most meats. There are other stores, but all the meat is blah.
    I live in SE New Mexico, 12 miles south of Roswell, the Alien Capital of the
    U. S.👽👽
    Do you do mail order? Just a thought.

  18. Writing a lot on this vid vlog. LOL Besides living out in Chaves County close to Roswell👽 I am also in the middle of dairy country (land of a bazillion flies) and not too far from Leprino Foods, a cheese processing plant, I think the 2nd largest in the states. Anyway, milk is $4 a gallon and ALL the stores sell fake cheese. What up with That??? Our one best forever dairy (since before I was born, I'm 68.) closed up shop and is going to be a Cannibas growing farm.

  19. Slaughtering a 1200 pound steer makes you over $4000. Yet you sell calves for a fraction of that. How much does the finished steer cost you to make him. And is the reason you sell the little ones just lack of a market for all that meat. Also I would guess your freezing the meat as it has to be difficult unloading that much in a timely fashion. Or do you have clients who pre ordered the meat and take large amounts. And can you get into aged steaks where the prices are significantly more. The slaughter house sells the leather and perhaps other parts how is that factored into the contract.

  20. As I was watching tractor attachment video I recalled you mentioning that your hay yield is usually low. Do you use aerator like this one: https://youtu.be/9TycIFk3HTY?t=94

  21. My Grandparents Live on a farm and I go to the farm and help them and they have Bulls Cows 🐮 and some pigs 🐖 and I help my Grandpa 👴🏻 and I help feed the cows and bulls and pigs it’s hard work.

  22. First video of yours that I’ve stumbled upon and I loved it. Subscribed and notifications on. Great video!

  23. this guy is good at what he do I just hope he be real safe with those boys yeah one of the biggest cattle ranches I ever seen you are doing a great job

  24. But you will agree that cows are most disciplined. In the morning tgey have to move out in the fields empty for feeding of course with a herdman whonwill be with them from dawn to dusk. They will return to the place to spent the night. Here tgey may be fed hay.

  25. Great video man!!!!!!!!! I know how hard it is to move critters around by yourself I do it all the time sometimes I use my Dads lawn as a "Temporary holding facility" i.e 3 to 4 days. but to film and to narrate this you are in a league of your own!!!! nice job.

  26. hi i seen your channel for me i have bin looking at a lot of healing land videos and it look like you have some land healing to do. one thing you can look in to is mob grazing,& the use of cover cop i hope it helps with the farm get in the black $ have a grate day don

  27. Hey Mike, thanks for share with us your work, I'm Juan, From Paraguay, I spend some time living in Colorado for student exchange the last year, and also, I pass through Wyoming highway. I fell in love with the ranchs in west US, I'm recently started a job in a Ranch here in paraguayan Chaco so you give me options for how make my job here, thanks for let me learn about you !

  28. i would recommend you roller bars at the side of the trucks so when the cows enters, they dont hit it and the leather is not marked. Also less bruises to the meat. 🙂 Thank you for your videos

  29. New you your channel. Have been working my way through the videos from the beginning. Out of curiosity why didn't you put the heifer that won't produce in with the steers and fatten her up and butcher her too.

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