To Market, To Market, To Sell a Fat Calf!

Well, the time has come for this crop of calves to go to market. Last Friday, we separated the ten calves from the mama cows and loaded them in the livestock trailer. The calves were actually pretty calm during the entire process. Charlie, Jason, and a friend separated them and I talked to the calves as they were loaded in the trailer in small groups. The calves were licking my fingers and letting me rub their noses. Once the trailer pulled out of driveway, Jason let the cows out of the pen and back into the pasture.

The cows left the pen quickly, but the ten mama cows came back shortly to inspect the area and find their calves.

Then they started calling for the babies.
Then they went into the pens to look for them.
Then they called out some more.
Then they came to the fence to talk to (fuss at) us.
Then they quieted down.
Then it all started up again.

The Jersey/Holstein (JoJo) and one of the other cows came all the way inside the inner pen looking and crying…I mean mooing for their calves. (JoJo was Tank’s adoptive mom after he was abandoned. She took really good care of him. She is a good Mama Cow and was missing her Tank!)  Charlie gave them all mineral cubes (Cow Candy) and ear rubs, but as soon as we walked back to the house, they started mooing again. Jason said that they were all going to be hoarse in the morning!

The next morning, those ten cows were still in the pasture around the pen. They had mooed all night long. By that evening, all but two of the cows had moved to the back pasture with the rest of the herd to the bales of hay that Jason had put out.  JoJo was one of the cows that stayed up front. By the next afternoon, all the cows had moved to the back pasture.

Charlie and I went up to the sale barn to check on the calves. They were all in their pen just as calm as they could be and happy to see us. We had time for ear rubs, chin rubs, and finger licks. Champ and Tank came right to us. Hannah was being her usual drama queen self and was laying in the feed trough! The calves had been like a mini herd inside the big herd here at the ranch. They played together, fought over the feed trough, and rested together and that appeared to make a difference when they were at the sale barn. The calves in the other pens around them were pacing and nervous. Perhaps having six steers and only four heifers helped the emotional level of the herd. I had one more talk with the calves about how big they were and how it was time for them to go into the big world! I know they listened to me!

Charlie and I are very proud of the way these calves look and act. They look healthy and have a nice body condition. They are calm and not skittish – very even tempered. It is evident of the good care they have been given here at the ranch. We feel like we have accomplished our goal of raising the best calves that we could. It will be an exciting day when they go to auction and we see how well they perform and how they give back to the ranch so more calves can follow their footsteps.

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