Planning For An Uneventful Cow-Moving Venture

Earlier this week we took out some panels to set up around the feed bunk for our replacement heifers. It’s part of our plan to hopefully make moving them off of summer pasture less challenging or stressful.

Last year we managed to get our previous heifer bunch loaded and moved but the process wasn’t a romantic ranch scene even though we knew it wouldn’t be easy. We had only one babysitter cow to lead the first bunch into the trailer; after that we had to try several other tactics and still had difficulties getting them to load into the stock trailer. It was a situation of the disasterous kind;  it did not go smoothly.  

Anybody who’s worked with young heifers knows that they’re hard to handle until they get used to humans being around and getting worked and handled enough that they aren’t so skittish. I liken them to livestock that acts like they have ADHD. Basically, they’re like wild, rambunctious teenagers.

This year we decided to plan ahead and get our heifers trained, so-to-speak. We implemented our plan as soon as we got them on summer range. We had quite a bit of creep feed (supplemental feed for calves)  left over from the winter and used it to get them used to coming to the feed bunk. We hauled the leftover creep in a pickup box trailer to their summer pasture and a few times a week I’d call them in like before to give them some creep. They were already used to me honking a long and two shorts (the Kirk’s old party line number) or calling them in since I was the one who fed them most of the winter so they quickly learned where the creep feed and salt was. This routine worked out well since I’m usually out there everyday to pump water.

We set up panels around the feed bunk and left the trailer there so they all had time to satisfy their curiosity over the panels and trailer and got used to the new setup for a few weeks. I continue to call them in and feed them every couple of days so hopefully by the time we’re ready to move them we’ll eliminate the unnecessary problems we’ve dealt with in the past.

Our creep feed is starting to dwindle so I’ve backed off on how much and how frequently I feed them.

Sadly, this time when we go to haul them up to Pringle, I’m sure my husband and I won’t have any good stories to tell about getting mad at each other while working together or problems we had with the heifers.

4 responses to “Planning For An Uneventful Cow-Moving Venture”

  1. Jennifer Avatar

    Just found your blog! Love finding fellow ranch wives. 🙂

  2. Pete Bakken Avatar
    Pete Bakken

    Sounds like a good plan! Let me know how it turns out. A little TLC and tasty feed goes a long way.

  3. Amy Avatar

    We actually tested it out today and lucked out; got in our babysitter cow and her calf to take to the sale barn this week and one of the kids’ heifers that had some smoothwire wrapped around a foot. The calf was the biggest challenge but since they’re all used to my lovely voice I’m taking the credit for getting the calf to come in.

  4. Amy Avatar

    Hi Jennifer. Thanks for purusing my blog. I love meeting fellow ranch wives too.

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