Is it Fall, or is it Winter? Sometimes here in Southeastern Wyoming, it is impossible to determine. This year we saw our first snow before the trees had a chance to drop all of their leaves. In between the unpredictable weather, important things were happening at West Cattle Company!
It is preconditioning time. In other words, we are vaccinating our baby calves to keep them healthy through the colder months of winter. During this time, the moms and calves are almost ready to ship to their buyer. The buyer is going to take the calves at their current weight and, using their chosen method, put them in the best position to gain weight quickly and efficiently until they are ready to finish and move on to the next phase of the process. To ensure our calves are strong and healthy to withstand the stress of weaning (separation from mom), and shipping (long truck ride), we give them boosters to their vaccinations that were given at birth. It is a long and taxing process which will eventually mean running every calf and mother through the corral and giving the shots.
After preconditioning comes weaning. It is vital that the older calf who at this point is fully adequate to survive on his/her own learn to live without mother. Its important because at this point momma cow is busy making a new calf. So, to increase her condition (overall momma health) and give the new calf the best opportunity to survive through the winter inside momma cow, the older calves are separated.
Wait a minute! Did I sneak in there that we have moms expecting babies? Yes, I did and its time to find out how the boys did during breeding season. This time of year is also the beginning of what is called preg-checking the cows. This requires the services of our veterinarian. In our case, he uses a specialized ultrasound machine to take a peek and determine if momma cow is expecting or not.
This time marks the start of a new year here on the ranch. The older calves have moved on and the new calves are growing inside the mommas. Our main focus for the last six months has been raising these calves and keeping them healthy. Now our focus goes to keeping momma cow happy and healthy through the winter. As the new year begins so does new excitement for what the next year might bring. Speaking of a new year, October also brings many birthdays here at the ranch. Our Aunt Mariea and Uncle Erik both have October birthdays along with our beloved owner Brandon West.
The leaves are gone, the grass has turned for the winter. Mother nature is quieter now. It’s hard to see how the winter will go, but with snow in mid-October, it could be a long ride. This is the time of year that we buckle down and make sure that we have done everything we can do to prepare for whatever comes in the harsh months ahead. All of the preparation and hard work will prove to be worth it in the end.
However, there is still a chance before the chaos of winter, to appreciate the year that was, and to appreciate this new beginning.
Till next time,
West Cattle Company
Working Cows with Adeline, who is decked out in pink unicorns. Dirt doesn't stop this little princess.
Mom & Adeline helping Dad, caption of the sweatshirt is "Coffee then Cows until Cocktails!"
Brandon's 37th Birthday Dinner; enjoying some favorites: beef tenderloin and mussels.
Picking up some grass fed and grass finished beef and getting ready to deliver to our loyal customers. Ohio, get ready, we're coming back out in April!