Every day has its surprises and challenges. The consistency comes in the continuous
care of stock whether those be cattle, horses, dogs, poultry or whatever. Generally, one can
plan on working hard.
About 6 weeks in the spring and 6 weeks in the fall are devoted to the most intensive
part of cattle ranching - calving. Most times it is trouble free, but a backwards calf is in urgent need of attention and
a surprise set of twins can keep you alert. This year we had a deluge of rain while three cows were in labor. One of the
calves was backwards, so we were standing in the pouring rain pulling this calf. Diana remembers thinking that this is
about a bad as it gets; cold, wet and elbow deep in the cow. Nevertheless, the calf was born alive and sure is growing fine
Summer and winter are all about getting the cows and heifers bred. Considering the EPDs of AI bulls, selecting them
against the best matches for that bull in the cow herd takes a while. Also, selecting the finest cows with consistency of performance
to use as embryo donors is interesting. It does pay to keep comprehensive records. Then comes the preparation for AI or implant, and
necessity of running them though the chute for shots and CIDRs. The successes are exciting but there are disappointments as well.
While all this cow activity is going on, there is always the need to monitor the calves. While the calves are less than 2 months old, we count them
daily to be sure that one hasn't gotten through a fence, hasn't fallen in a hole (see "about the owners") or is feeling under the weather. Intervention
is prevention in these cases.
Because our herd health program is so comprehensive, many days see some activity related to vaccinations, worming, or testing. We routinely
test all newborn calves for PI BVDV, and have reached Level 2 Johnes-free certification. Then there is the inevitable fight against flies - ear tags, predator wasps and sprays, and pour ons. In our Northern California location, we have a real problem with foxtails. Their nasty barbed seed heads find their way all too often into the eye of an unsuspecting cow or calf.
While we would like to halter break all our calves, there are just too many. So we halter break some, especially the bull calves. Also, our calves sport tattooed identification to go with their Eagles Run brand and their American Murray Grey pedigree.
Every day is busy. Just what combination of busy depends on the season.