Sale Day–A Family Event

by Amy on November 20, 2009

Sale Day–A Family Event

RWS_Gathering 

Every year my husband and I let our kids decide if they want to come with us to watch our calves sell. We always brought them with us when they were small and kept them out of school a few times back in their early elementary school days to come with us. Last year they didn’t want to miss any school because they hate having makeup work to do but this year they both decided they wanted to come along.  
RWS_Bringing cows in
It was a chilly morning; about 20 degrees out so everybody wore coveralls to gather, sort and load calves in. I got the kids up about 5:30 and we left the house about 6:00 a.m. A few neighbors came to help out and met us at the barn around 6:30. This year my husband decided to use four-wheelers to bring everything in because our cows weren’t far from the barn and it wouldn’t take long to gather.

RWS_8631
Using four-wheelers eliminated having to hassle with getting horses in, saddling, unsaddling, and putting them up at the barn while we were gone and having to haul them back home once we got back from the sale barn.  
RWS_Ready to sort
RWS_Counting
An early start was needed because we had some extra sorts to do. We are keeping some heifers again this year and had some open cows (not bred) to separate from the herd. Spotting the opens was a challenge.
RWS_Looking for O's
In a sea of black cows the orange “O” marking on the open cows’ hips had faded enough since vaccination day that it was hard to see the mark clearly and their ear tag numbers didn’t show up very good either.  

RWS_Sorting off cows

All the sorting was done with about fifteen minutes to spare before the truck showed up.
 
RWS_Waiting for the truck
 
RWS_Truck arrives
Once everything was loaded on the cattle truck,
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RWS_Cattle pot at end of loading chute
 
RWS_Loading cattle
a few gates had to be opened or shut and the car needed to be gassed up before we were able to head up to Belle Fourche. We got to the sale barn about a half hour before we got to see our calves sell.
RWS_Belle Fourche Livestock Exchange
 
RWS_BFLE Unloading Entrance
Not having to wait a long time is always nice. Some friends we knew from Edgemont happened to be selling their calves also, so we stuck around to watch theirs sell then ate lunch at the sale barn café for before heading back home.  

It was nice weather out all the way around for gathering, sorting, hauling cattle and driving up to the sale barn. Not too many years ago during the drought it was so dry and dusty for sorting in that it stirred up a dirt haze. Other years we gathered in -20 below temperatures or sorted and loaded cattle in blowing snow. This year, it warmed up into the fifties and was sunny out.  

Now that we’ve sold our calves and culled a few cows, we start a new chore routine for the weaned replacement heifer calves. They’ll need some taming down and watching for a while until they get used to us showing up to feed them and aren’t so skittish. Watching them change from flighty calves into good momma cows is enjoyable; except when they get into trouble. This will be our chore routine up until spring.  

RWS_The open cows

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