It was a sad and exciting week on the Lazy J Ranch. Big Boy the Bull has moved to a new pasture with lots of new ladies waiting for him. While Big Boy did a great job leading our herd and increasing calf production, it was time for a different direction on the ranch.
Big Boy was a protective leader of our herd and yet very gentle with the new calves. It was fun to watch him interact with the herd and with us. As big as he was, he would still snuggle up next to you if you had cow candy to share. He loved being brushed and rubbed. However, if he needed to, he could show you how big and tough he was!
Big Boy was purchased by a local rancher and friend who has taken him to his herd. He will be joining a herd of Brahma heifers where his services will produce beautiful Brahma calves. He followed Jason right onto the trailer, but as the trailer drove out of the pasture, Big Boy turned his head and looked back at Jason and Charlie. It makes you wonder what he was thinking! It was sad to see his gentle spirit leave the ranch.
Big Boy gave us lots of nice looking calves, but we decided that we wanted to move forward to a homogenous herd – one where the bull, cows, and calves are all black Angus or Brangus. Our plan is to purchase a black Angus bull soon which will produce black calves with shorter ears.
Jason and a fellow welder will spend the next week building a new pen for the new bull with all kinds of bells and whistles. Whatever it takes to keep the bull happy. Stay tuned for pictures of the progress.
There is a lot of hard work that goes on at the Lazy J Ranch – but there’s also time for fun and games! From fishing to driving the side-by-side to saddle surfing, there’s always something to do.
The horses have been a fun addition to the ranch. We are trying our best to spoil Spirit and Charley the best we can. We’re learning about feeding, shoeing, and brushing the horses. We’ve ridden some, but it has been so hot that we didn’t want to stress them. (I told you we were spoiling the horses!)
We were told to be aware that sometimes horses and cows don’t get along in the same pasture, but we haven’t experienced that. The new calves were curious about the horses the first time they were in the pasture together and the horses were very patient with the calves.
The calves are interested when we go to the barn to feed the horses. Big Boy and some of the cows greeted me outside the barn when I went to feed the horses one morning. The calves decided to investigate what was going on inside the stall gates. Then, Skipper and Rocky Raccoon decided to play hide and seek from around the corner of the barn with me. Rocky likes to go out and greet Charlie for ear scratches and head rubs.
It’s fun to be able to interact with the animals and share these experiences with family and friends. Taking photos are something I like to do to share fun times and new things that we’ve learned along the way. Selfies are always fun with the herd and horses!
We work hard and we play hard here at the ranch and we love it!
It’s hard to believe that Calf Crop #4 has already started on the Wheeler Lazy J Ranch. Buck was born at the end of December. Patches, his Mama Cow, had some health issues so we had kept her in the holding pen near the house. It was nice having Buck so close when he was born and for his first weeks. Buck is the first calf bred by Big Boy the Bull born on the Ranch.
A couple of weeks later, Rose, gave birth to Roy, a healthy bull calf also bred by Big Boy. Rose was not in the pen and hid Roy for several days before joining back up with the herd. We would find Roy and then Rose would hide him again. It was like a “Where’s Waldo” game!
It’s fun to watch these two bull calves. Buck is pretty laid back and likes to follow Joni (the white yearling in the herd) around. Sometimes he runs and plays, but not like Roy. Roy loves to run and frolic. He’s so curious about everything around him. He is beginning to explore the other cows in the herd.
We are expecting up to 9 more calves due in February and March for this Spring crop. We are looking forward to welcoming these calves. I must admit that the occasional harsh winter temperatures worry me with the little ones on the ground. We are so thankful that Jason isn’t afraid of the freezing temps!
God has created these animals to take care of themselves and each other in all types of weather. We are simply stewards of the land and animals. We are going to do the best we can to protect them and help them thrive.
After working the cows last month, the discussion of expanding our herd came up. Cowboy J. was telling us about a nice-looking Brahman bull that belonged to one of our neighbors. Originally, our goal was to buy a black Brangus bull to lessen the Brahman look from our Brangus cows. Charlie had even done a lot of homework about where to buy and talked to several ranches. That plan was put on the backburner after we had two visiting (not invited) bulls during the Fall. Our goal changed to finding out which of the cows were bred and taking care of their prenatal needs. We had put the idea of buying a bull off for a bit, but now we needed to talk about it. Charlie and Jason talked about breeding the cows with a Brahman bull. Charlie and I talked about breeding the cows with a Brahman bull. Jason and Danielle talked about breeding the cows with a Brahman bull. Finally, Charlie and Jason decided to talk to our neighbors and meet Big Boy.
We knew that Big Boy was a full-blooded Brahman bull and that he was halter-broke and could be walked around the pasture with a halter and rope. So far, he has bred small calves that grew quickly after they were born. This is important because some of our herd will be heifers (first-time to be bred) and it is usually better if their calves are small. Of course, you don’t want them to stay small so growing and gaining weight quickly is beneficial. We found out that all of his calves have been heifers (so far) which is good for us since we are building our herd with heifers that will become cows which give us more calves. Steers go to the sale barn to buy more cows and heifer calves!
Today was the day of transition. A portion of our common fence was cut and a temporary gate put in and Big Boy was walked into our pasture. He came in and quickly found the “ladies of the pasture.” Charlie and Jason were able to work with him by giving him mineral cubes. Thanks to our neighbor for taking the pictures of him with Charlie and Jason!
We’re looking forward to what the future holds with Big Boy as part of the herd. His immediate task is to find the three cows that need to be bred which will ensure that all 14 cows are bred with hopes of 14 healthy calves being born!
There are many strategies among ranchers with cow-calf operations. Our goal is to have all of our cows on the same cycle where they will go into heat, breed, and calve at the same time. This insures having a consistent calf crop which makes it better when you take them to market.Our goal was to buy a black Angus bull in the Spring to breed with our cows. Charlie had even spoken with several ranchers that sell bulls. Sounds practical and efficient, right? But we all know that things don’t always work out as we plan for them to – Life is full of surprises.
One morning in November when I walked out toward the herd, I noticed a white patch in the middle of the cows. I walked a bit closer, thinking that this was just the sun causing a glare and making my eyes see things. However, as I walked closer, it was apparent that we had a visitor in our herd. A very handsome red Hereford bull had come to visit our ladies. Mr. Curly (as named by Natalie because of the white curls on his head) was very happy to be among 14 cows that were looking for male companionship. It took a few phone calls and we found which neighbor Mr. Curly belongs to. Charlie talked with him and it was decided to leave Mr. Curly in our pasture to ‘finish the job’ since he had already messed up our schedule of putting a bull out in March with the cows. Soon we will do a pregnancy check on the cows and see how many are bred. We would expect to see Black Baldies – Black Brangus with white markings on their heads. But some could show up with the red from the Hereford. Time will tell and I’m not really wanting to be patient to find out! As you can see, the calves being weaned were very curious about our visitor!
We also have another visitor to our herd. Her name is Lily Cow. Same neighbor bought a cows but she decided to jump the fence into our pasture when they let her out of the livestock trailer. She was pretty tame with the neighbor’s wife, but was not ready to be rounded up. Lily Cow is making herself at home with our herd. She stands out because she is a white and reddish tiger stripe with black dots on her forehead. The dots on her head made me think of the inside of a flower plus she is a tiger stripe cow so I came up with Lily Cow. Charlie and Jason have restructured our working pens now so when we gather the cows up soon to work them, our neighbor will be able to come and collect Lily! I think his wife is anxious to get her back. I’ve been taking care of by hand feeding her cubes. Can you spot Lily Cow with the other cows?