Day in the Life – April

April on the ranch is start of a very busy season!  During April and May there always seems to be a thousand different tasks that need to be done and there are never enough days to get it all done!  Between feeding cows, checking calves, branding calves, fixing fences, harrowing fields, planting new fields and turning out cows, the days are long!

On Wednesday, my day started out by finalizing some details the Kamloops Stockmen’s Association Annual General Meeting that was to start at 3pm.  I have been the secretary/treasurer for the Kamloops Stockmen’s for the past eight years and today will be my last meeting as the secretary/treasurer.  I have really enjoyed the position and now it is time to pass it along to someone new.

I dressed and fed the boys, quickly cleaned up around the house ready to go outside into the snow! Yes, snow! We have been getting a lot of moisture this spring and it is still not very “spring” like! Hopefully the weather will warm up soon so the grass will start to grow.

Next, my parents, the boys and I started the morning chores.  Each morning in April, we feed grain to a few animals, feed hay to the various groups, check the last few cows who haven’t calved, and check all the calves to make sure they are healthy.

My mom and I decided that we would put some fresh straw in the calf shelters since it was so wet outside. One of the last 3 cows to calve (14-63) had a nice little heifer calf the evening before and the calf was cuddling up in the new straw.  When we went to leave, I looked up over the top of the hill and I could see a cow who looked like she had recently calved.  We walk up to find 14-63 licking another little heifer calf! Since it was so wet, we put both calves in the trailer pulled by our Polaris Ranger and took them into the barn to dry off.  Since 14-63 is a young cow (this is her second-time calving), we wanted to watch the calves closely to make sure each of them was getting enough milk.  We made up a bottle of colostrum just to make sure each calf had a good drink prior to leaving for the meeting.

14-63 – October 2016

We headed back to the house to quickly change as the boys had a doctor’s appointment in town before the meeting. My dad met us in town after the appointments to take the boys home to feed the bottle lamb and to babysit while my mom and I attended the meeting.

The Kamloops Stockmen’s Association is a regional livestock association representing the livestock producers in our area.  At this meeting, we have various guests attend to update the members on current issues, events and programs. We have a great meeting with lots of informative talks and a wonderful supper!

When we arrived home from the meeting, we did a quick phone call to a neighbor to update him on the meeting as he couldn’t attend and I put the boys to bed. I had a few minutes to finalize some details and answered some emails and went to bed ready to start the next busy day!

Cattle Record Keeping

Cattle records, what kind of records would you keep on cattle? On our ranch, we have a purebred and commercial herd.  With purebred herds there is always more of a record keeping requirement; therefore, we decided to also keep detailed records on our commercial herd so that we are managing all of our cattle the same.

All of our records are inputted on a daily basis into our cattle management software program, CattleMax. CattleMax has an online program that we can access anywhere by using our computer, iPhones and/or iPads for a small monthly fee. We have been using this program for at least 10 years and it makes it extremely easy to print reports and/or worksheets while managing our herd.


On our ranch, every calf is given a ranch tag with a specific number at birth along with a RFID tag (Radio Frequency Identification tag).  The mother’s number is then written on the back of the ranch tag.  The registered calves are numbered numerically, followed by the letter for the year.  This year is “E”.  The commercial calves are also numbered numerically, starting with the year they were born (“17” for 2017) and then their number in sequence. For example, 17-15.

At birth, we keep track of calving difficulties, medications, management notes and birth weights.  The one book on the ranch that we can’t live without is our calf book!  It tracks the calf number, mother (dam), father (sire) and all the other birth details. Needless to say, my 2017 calf book looks like it has been everywhere with me!


Throughout the year, we must document which cows are bred to which bulls, vaccination and medications as given, pasture movement details for each animal, yearling weights and many other details.


In the fall, we weigh each calf so that we can document how many pounds each cow is raising, details on if the calf is kept over the winter or where it is sold and for how much.

By using CattleMax,  we can easily see which cows are producing the highest weaning weight, the average calving interval, average birth weights for sires and any other detail that we need to look at while making management decisions.