Hi I’m Mike. Over the last few days we have been completely
reworking the way we sell cattle here on the ranch and that has added quite a bit to the
project list, but before we can begin our new weaning program, we need cows and calves
here. In the corrals, so that’s today project
on Our Wyoming Life. In our last video, we talked about the cattle
market this year and how lower prices, prices that aren’t covering expenses, are forcing
us to take a look at how we sell our cattle into the food distribution network. That network, starts with cattle producers
like us, leads to feedlots, then to packers, after that distributors, then grocery stores
and eventually your table. Someone is making money in this chain of events
but its not the producer so we have decided to hold on to our calves as long as we can. We will wean them off their moms, and they
will stay close by home, where we can feed them and they gain weight, and hopefully be
worth more than we have into them at some point. We just really have to monitor them and make
sure that we don’t miss that window. Before we can get that far, we have to get
the calves sorted off of their moms. That was a task that usually took place just
a few hours before they were loaded on the truck and taken off to auction. We practice low stress cattle handling techniques
here on the ranch, or at least we try to. We want to be able to work our cattle in the
safest way possible, not only for the people working them but for the cattle as well. A stressed, nervous or scared cow is a dangerous
cow and the easier we can make everything on them the better. When we have sold in the past, we try to make
it as easy as possible. But when it comes down to it, we had a deadline. We have to get the truck loaded, we have a
sale time waiting for us and we have a lot riding on it. That can lead to someone pushing a cow too
hard, or mistakes being made and with our new method of weaning calves and keeping them
here at home longer, we have a chance to make a change to how cows are moved here on the
ranch. This week we will sorting their calves off
from their moms, starting the weaning process, then we will be moving the cows back to some
better pasture until heavy snow starts to hit. Then we will get to work with their calves. Starting a new vaccination program, and new
way to start tracking their weights. We will find out who gains weight easily and
who doesn’t and we will be managing diets to make sure that the calves are the best
taken care of as possible. Before we can do any of that, we need the
cows back home, and my truck is right outside here to head down and start the process and
I can fill you in. The cows and their calves are currently still
on summer pasture, over 5 miles from home, and normally we would start a process right
about now of pushing the cows home. That would entail a few of us on 4 wheelers,
sometimes we have help from folks on horseback and we would more or less drive the cows home. It’s a quick trip that way, taking only
a couple of hours, but now we have an opportunity to try something new and let the cows move
themselves. With weather getting cooler at night and during
the day, the cows are actually moving toward home themselves. Most of them have been around at least one
winter, and they know that when it gets cold they will start getting fed, and deep down
any animal, if you feed them, will let you. I’m not saying cows are lazy, but they aren’t
over achievers either. My guess is that if we travel throught he
ranch and open the gates, when the weather gets cold over the next couple nights, we
will start to see cows and their calves coming toward home. This is an experiment, I don’t know if it
will work but if you don’t have to work your cows, don’t. I have always believed in letting them move
themselves. Sometimes you can use food as motivator, but
more often than not, you can just go and open a gate and they will eventually find it, eventually. Cows are curious creatures and they always
want to move on to the next bigger and better place or adventure. And in the end, if they move themselves. They made it easier on us too. We don’t have to bring out a crew and risk
an accident or someone getting hurt. When you think of the cowboy lifestyle or
even ranch life in general, you may picture someone jumping on the back of a bull, or
wrangling a steer, in reality. If you are really running a ranch, one that
your family depends on and that other families depend on as well, you can’t afford to get
hurt. Work smarter, not harder and sometimes the
work does itself. Even with the cows moving toward home already,
just a few minutes after opening the gate I can head back to my next project, waiting
for me with open arms. Then again, I
can always get a new project. Yes soon, Our Wyoming Life jerky will be available
on our website and if you would like to know first, all you have to do is head to ourwyominglife.com
and sign up for our weekly newsletter. As soon as I have the jerky up and ready to
go, you will get an email telling you first and giving you a bit of a head start. I know today is short, but if I want to go
get the jerky I have a few hours drive ahead of me, so I am going to head that way, and
leave the cows to meander toward home. You can keep an eye on them on our website,
since you are there signing up for the newsletter anyway. Up on the top, click on cameras and you can
get a live look at our pasture cam, and you will see when the cows come over the hill
headed toward home. You can also chat there with other viewers
as well, its a lot of fun. I’m going to hit the road, but I’ll see
you soon, please subscribe and thanks for joining us in our Wyoming life.