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.

Day in the Life – December

Every month for the next year I will give you some insight into my day as a homeschool mom, rancher and blogger.  Ranch life changes every month based on the seasons; therefore, one of the best things about ranching is that there is a lot of variety in our monthly tasks.

December is a slower month on the ranch so this gives us time to catch up on other tasks and get ready for Christmas.  I love our evenings in the house during December but by the time spring arrives, I am ready to be outside more!

I am fortunate as I am not the only one who does the daily feeding tasks on the ranch.  My parents and I share the tasks depending on our schedules each day. Today, I was responsible for feeding the calves and bulls.

Here is an overview of my day today.

6am – We woke up, I made the beds and dressed the boys.  We then did the Elf on the Shelf activity for the day – snowflake making!!  I started breakfast while the boys played.

Elf on the Shelf
Elf on the Shelf

7am – We had breakfast and then I cleaned up while the boys played again.  The boys play quite well together in the morning prior to going outside to feed.

8am – We headed outside to do the feeding.  My youngest was in the backpack and the other helped me move the calves to the feed troughs to feed the grain. The calves have been recently started on grain, so for the first couple weeks we must move them to the troughs to make sure they all come.  After a couple weeks, they will usually meet us at the grain bin.  The feeding of grain usually takes me about an hour with the boys.  We also checked water, salt and minerals and hay for the calves.up close

9am – My youngest was still sleeping in the backpack so I had a quick shower and did some laundry.

9:30 – We made homemade popsicles together, as suggested by my boys.

10:00 – We got ready to go to town for a children’s Christmas party at our local Prairie Coast Equipment dealership , made a quick lunch and tidied up around the house. The boys also did some colouring.

11:00 – Drove to town, went to the Christmas party and then stopped at a couple stores to pick up groceries.

2:30 – Arrived back at home, put the ingredients in the bread machine for buns, played with the boys.

3:30 – The boys and I got ready to go back outside to do the evening chores.  We spent some extra time petting my son’s show heifer.

Grain 4:45 – Back in the house, and I started to get supper ready. We had leftovers, so I had some more time to play with the boys and tidy up before supper.  My husband got home so we all have a visit around the table while waiting for supper.

5:30 – Supper and then we all watched a Christmas movie together.

7:00 – Boys fell asleep. I spent the rest of the evening cleaning house, getting the Elf on the Shelf ready for tomorrow, working on my blog, organizing my photos on the computer, getting a craft ready for us to do tomorrow and doing some laundry.

11:00 – Bedtime!

Check back in January for a new Day in the Life post!