Monday, April 27, 2009

Working the Cows

A young calf after just having had a drink of milk from his mother! See his "milk mustache"??

The weekend after Easter we treated the brood cows for lice and dewormed them. I've never had the opportunity to help with this chore, and it was an experience! The mature cows are much more difficult to handle and contain than the smaller calves. The calves get handled (vaccination and castration) at weaning and then vaccinated and fly-tagged as yearlings before getting turned out on pasture for the summer. Then they get slowly brought up on feed and are typically market weight (around 1200 lbs) before they are 2 years old. So when the calves are being vaccinated and worked in the cattle chute, they are pretty easy to get to walk into the chute since they haven't had much experience yet. The older cows are a different story - they've been there, done that, and our cows aren't tame.

The picture below shows the chute that we created for the cows to walk into, with the homemade door that is super heavy-duty to keep them from running out before they got treated. Matt's inside the chute that went along the barn, getting ready to pick up the short aluminum gate that his dad used to help move the cows down into the chute. He just had to use the gate as a visual, to show the cows where he wanted them to go.

Usually he would get two or three cows to come in at a time, then he would stand behind the last cow to keep her from running back towards the rest of the herd that hadn't been treated. In the picture below, Matt is holding the dewormer/delouser in his left hand, and is squirting the product along the cow's back, from withers to tail head.

Once each group was treated, I would open the gate and let them out, and Danny would bring the next group in, Matt would treat them, and so on. The last one to go was the bull. He is BIG!

We then separated him out from the herd so that we will have a break in when the cows start calving again. He'll get put back in with the cows to in another month or so. All the cows and their calves got turned back out onto fresh grass pasture, and will be rotated around all summer and into the early fall.

Our Cora loves sitting on the tractor and getting her picture taken - so no surprise to see such a happy smile!


  1. The picture of your home is awesome!

  2. What a great setup you have! Right now we only have 5 cows and 3 heifers, so we can lock them in the headgates when they eat and spray them down/medicate them but.....this looks like it would be super easy. How are you feeling?


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