Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Rinse and Repeat

If you ever wondered what it would be like to work on a factory line, step into my office.
De-tag, worm, vaccinate, re-tag, brand, lice dip, Repeat. De-tag, worm, vaccinate, re-tag, brand, lice dip, Repeat... 400 more times! This may seem like a simple days work but let me tell you, after about 150 commercial steers have gone through, you start to lose your mind a bit.... ok a lot.

In all reality, we only got through around 230 head in 9 hours, without stopping, in the blowing snow, uphill both ways.

Our commercial herd makes up the bulk of our head count. We buy steers and heifers starting after the first of the year, feed them at our ranch in town and then ship them out to the flint hills. These commercial steers have it made; grazing on beautiful 1000 acre pastures of native flint hills grass for the entire summer? Really? That's their job?!

So before these spoiled kids get to go to summer camp they have to get worked!

First things first. We need to make sure these boys are Hoag cattle all the way so we de-tag them from their previous ranches, vaccinate with Alpha-7 to keep them healthy in the future, give them an oral de-wormer, re-tag them with Hoag tags, lice dip them and brand.

Everything that we do for our cattle, Black Herefords and commercial herd, is to keep them as healthy, happy and comfortable as possible. When these cattle are out on grass this summer, its important that they are protected from anything they may come in contact with. This also is the huge importance with Branding.

Here comes my soap box. It's a little one so it won't take long.

Now, I know that branding is controversial. And before I met the Hoag's, I wasn't a big fan. But when cattle becomes your livelihood and times are as desperate as they've been; you cannot count on humans being innately good and kind to leave your cattle where they spotted them, tags in ears, grazing peacefully. If someone was ever dumb enough to try to rustle our cattle, the brand protects us and the herd so they are easily identifiable and we can get them safely back home.

See! That wasn't so bad!! Repeat this day and in 24 hours and we'll be off to the Hills!!

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