The perfect autumn afternoon is walking through the cattle on the hayfields and taking photos with my boys. The brilliant colours, the crisp mornings and the beautiful sunsets are just a few of my favourite things about autumn on the ranch. What are your favourite things about autumn?
Starting in September, we begin hauling cattle home and weighing calves. As we are doing this, we must continuously update our cattle management software program with all the movements and weights. We also must start to get our ewes ready for breeding and get organized for pregnancy checking of the cow herd. All the while, we continue with our weekly beef deliveries.
During the last week in September and first week in October, we bring our cow/calf pairs home from their summer pastures. We weigh each calf and then we sort which calves we are going sell and which ones will be kept over.
The weights are very helpful in giving us data to track what each cow and here bull are producing. We then use this data to help make decisions on if any cows are not producing adequately. We can also use the weights to help us in choosing replacement heifers. We like to keep replacement heifers that are over 600 lbs. We always keep any calves that are under 500 lbs and these small calves are fed over the winter and then put on pasture as our grass fed beef.
After weighing and sorting, the calves are turned out onto our hayfields, ready for our shipping day in the middle of October.
We enter all of this data into our cattle management software program called CattleMax. We can then have detailed production records on all of our cows and bulls. We also track all of the vaccines and antibiotics that we give to our animals so that we carefully follow all the necessary withdrawl timeframes.
We will be having our local veterinarian come and preg check each cow in October to see when she is due to calve in the spring. Each cow that is late or is not bred (“open”) is marked down and then we use our cattle records to make a decision on if she will be kept for another year. I will be sure to post some photos and videos of this later in the month.
Flushing the Ewes
If you haven’t heard the news, we have increased our sheep flock size so we will have lots of lamb available next fall. Breeding season is coming up soon. At the beginning of October, we have started to feed the ewes some grain. This is called flushing. Flushing helps to increase the ewe’s nutrient intake and body condition prior to and during breeding. We do this to help increase the rate of ovulation and in turn hopefully increase the number of lambs that the ewe will have. We will be sure to show you lots of photos of the little lambs as they arrive in the middle of March.
We are continuing to do weekly beef deliveries every week in Kamloops all fall. Be sure to check out everything that is available on our Beef and Lamb Sales page.
Get An Inside Look at Our Autumn Ranch Chores
So now that you have a bit of summary of our autumn ranch chores, be sure to check out our stories on Instagram to see a bit of an inside look at our daily life.