Border rancher wrote:Now I have a problem that needs your help. or someone else's help if they can suggest any magic solution.
Last Dec. my husband had an unfirtunate accident was was left with a brain injury. He kept all kinds of records, how to do lists etc. in that brain. Now the info is lost. He didn't write down much and as he always did these things, I have no one to ask. The problem is: Soon it will be time to take the heifer bulls out. When I look in the pen at our 20+ bulls, I don't know which are the heifer bulls. hubby knew that. On some of the papers from the sales, and on some of the pedigrees is written birth wt. ect. and a tag number. Most of the bulls have ;ost their ID tags. Should I run them all through the chute and try to find out who they are by reading their tattoos, or is it safe to just guess and choose 3 with smaller heads, shoulders, joints etc. Please help!
First, I'm sorry for your husband's injury. I admire you for accepting the challenge of keeping the outfit up and going, while he is laid up. We have friends who also faced this challenge-the husband was in a bad horse accident, then in a coma for quite a period of time, then pretty much laid up going through physical and occupation therapy-all in all if I remember correctly he was "out of commission" for well over two years. During this time he wife did an excellent job of keeping their outfit going. I have always admired her for all the challenges she faced and overcame, while raising their two teenaged kids. So, keep your chin up and thanks for having the courage to go this alone!
About the bulls---and these are just my opinions! The most important thing for you to remember is safety on your part!!!! You don't want to be laid up too! Are the bulls easy to handle, and gentle, and do you have some help there or a neighbor who can help you handle these guys? Even the most even tempered, easy to handle bull can be a challenge so please be careful!
I think both Silver and Northern Rancher have it right in what they said:
Posted: Mon May 09, 2005 1:46 pm Post subject:
Border, in my opinion you better do whatever it takes to get the right bulls with the heifers. If running them through the chute doesn't solve things, I think you'd be better off finding 3 new bulls to do the job. We made a mistake here once about 15 years ago, and Dad and I did 22 c-sections on heifers. One night we did three. Since then we take no chances, it's just not worth it.
Posted: Mon May 09, 2005 1:03 pm Post subject:
Border I think I'd check them out in the chute to be safe-we just started calving yesterday.
I would try and read the tattoos of the bulls (please be careful and find some help if you can--they will most like not like their ears messed with and probably the tattoo will be a little hard to read because of dirty ears, etc.)---this will be important for ID--and maybe double tag them or ID brand them for future ID. This might seem like some work now, but will probably save some hassles in the future. I don't know when you plan to turn them out, but while you have them in the chute, you might think about completing animal health tasks too-like pour on, fly tags, preventive vaccinations, semen testing, etc.
Next, after getting a positive ID, either go through their registration papers or ask a good rancher neighbor or their breeder for help in deciding whether they should be with heifers or cows. In my opinion you can have bulls with huge birthweights and small heads, smooth shoulders, etc. and just the opposite. So, it becomes important to try and get everyone paired up the best possible way. Like Silver said, you want to try and prevent a calving wreck now!!!
Without knowing much about your operation, another thought might be to synchronize and AI your heifers-especially if you find you're short of calving ease bulls. This could be possible if you some type of corrals, etc. In cases of "range" operations this probably won't work.
I hope this helps you out some. I don't have all the answers, heck maybe I don't have any of them, but if in your position this is where I would start. Feel free to private message me if you have other questions and I'll try to help.
I hope some positive things come out of this for you--and I think they will. I know your post got my husband and I talking about writing down some of the things he does. He made a very valid comment last night about the little things he does everyday would probably be the toughest to duplicate and get done, and are also the most important. I know in our operation, the toughest thing for me to do without my husband would be running the machinery and farming---I think I can hold my own with the livestock, but am "lost balls in tall weeds" when it comes to farming. Additionally my dad has always been good about keeping good records (running a purebred outfit on public lands will do that to a guy!) and it saved my mom a lot of nightmares when he had colon cancer surgery and was laid up for over six months.
I hope the take home message for other operations in all of this is to write down important stuff---pastures cows and heifers go into, what bulls go where, turn out dates, weaning dates, etc.
Please take care of yourself, and get some help if you need it. I greatly admire what your doing.