It’s been a couple months since our last update. This spring hit hard and fast for us here at West Cattle Company. April brought our second year selling our grass fed and grass finished beef to customers in Ohio. It’s a long haul, but it just takes two days to get our beef from the pastures of Wyoming to the buckeye state. Our freezer trailer keeps the meat nice and frozen, and a couple audio books later, its there in the hands of our excited customers. March was pretty much spent preparing for the trip, and getting all our I’s dotted and T’s crossed.
The end of April and beginning of May starts our calving season here at the ranch. We choose to calve later (April start) than the traditional way (February start) of raising calves. Reasons for doing so differ from ranch to ranch, but for us, its simply a way to mitigate our labor. Calving in February often leads to cold calves, snow, wind, and spending lots of time trying to keep babies alive and warm. We avoid most of those issues by calving later. In the end, things balance out. If you calve earlier, you theoretically have heavier calves at sale. If you calve later, missing the majority of the cold and wet winter, you in theory have lighter calves but more survival rate.
Our heifer cows (first time calvers) started on April 29th, and since then, things have been going at a constant and never-ending pace. Days are spent checking them, tagging calves, and assisting the mothers when needed. If you want a in depth view of what it’s like when one of our mommas needs help, Brittany posted a great video to our social Instagram @westcattlecompany
Heifer calves are our most labor-intensive investment in the spring because unlike our cows, 50% of first-time heifer mommas have difficulty in delivery. That is in comparison to 3% difficulties after their first birth when they become a breeding cow. The problems that arise are endless and the moments can go from elation, to excitement, to fear, to frustration, to grief pretty quickly here on the ranch. This is one of reasons that our heifers are moved and situated in the pasture beside our house for easy access to monitor them day and night. It’s passed down knowledge, a keen eye, and quick thinking that can sometimes be the difference between life and death. It also doesn’t hurt to have a little luck when passing by a new momma who unknown to her, has a baby with the veil (placental sack) over his nose suffocating the calf. Experienced moms will immediately jump up and start licking to remove any breathing barrier, however, first time heifers just don’t have the experience to know this.
With my father recovering from knee surgery, it has been a very busy season taking care of the heifers. Brittany has stepped up to help pretty frequently, learning beside me, which the teacher in her loves.
It is always a fun time of year to be a rancher. There is always a feeling of relief when winter ends and you realize you made it to the other side. Land turns green, calves are running all over the place, and luckily this year the rains and slight snow cover the ground. Brittany is always saying that Wyoming has two seasons. Winter that lasts for 9 months and summer which lasts for 3. Though she loves the sunshine that is out daily, she misses the pitter patter from Ohio’s constant storms. Luckily, this year we have had lots of rain!
May is also full of lots of birthdays here at West Cattle Company. Our lovely Brittany is celebrating a birthday this month. Brandon’s father Tim is celebrating a birthday as is Ronan West. Thanks to our loyal customers and the people who seek to find wholesome grassfed beef, we get to do what we love to do every day, and for that we are most grateful. Because of all of you out there, we will continue to live the legend.
Till next time,
West Cattle Company
Picking up all the beef for the Ohio trip.
Now that's alot of meat! 6 cows or 1 Ton to be exact.
Arriving into Ohio
Waiting on customers to arrive.
Our kids scored their own ATV when daddy arrived home from Ohio (early birthday present).
At the shop helping dad change his ATV oil.
Spring and calving is in the air. Adeline loves baby calves!