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webfoot

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About 7 weeks ago we branded the calves and hauled off the pairs. At that time there was 15 dry cows who hadn't calfed yet. We kicked them up on a couple hundred acres behind the house to calf. There has been no rain this spring so there wasn't much grass. It is a lot of up and down and sagebrush. The last week or so I kept seeing cows on a real steep portion (20% vertical rock). So I figured if they are there hunting grass it must be done. Yesterday we gathered them. Branded the calves and hauled them to the pasture where the other cows are at. We were surprised at how good condition these cows are in. These are all old broken mouth cows. They went from a grass hay diet on flat ground to rough ground where they pretty much had to walk stead while grazing. During this time they calved. And they all gained weight. They went from BCS of 4 or 5 (mostly 5) to BCS of 5.5 to 6. Calves looked good too.
 

leanin' H

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Spring has a way of surprising ya even on tough years. I’m amazed at what a cow can do with so little. Those older cattle know the range and find the feed they need. That is also a affirmation that your range management skills are above where most folks are. Your cattle will always reflect your management. I tip my hat sir. The heifers are the ones who really stuff off on these tough years. Still growing and raising a calf make for thin sisters when they are first and second calvers.
 

Faster horses

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Green grass does wonders.

We have learned that cattle should lay down from around 11 am to 2 pm or any time within that time frame when they are getting enough to eat. You can pretty much set your watch by it. If they don't something is wrong.

Another thing I learned and this was pretty hard for me to believe.; when cattle are competing for forage, they will tend to graze in the same direction. I didn't believe it when our area sales manager told me this, but the next day I was driving to another town and I saw it with my own eyes. Unbelievable. Since then I have observed it many times when grass was short.

Our gumbo grass doesn't ever look like there is much there, but the cows do good on it. We have tested it
and that grass is very strong. Has lots of nutrients, but you sure wouldn't know it to look at it. They won't eat much mineral when on the gumbo and that's because there is a lot of phosphorus in that gumbo grass and phosphorus is a limiter.
(You all reading this might already know what I posted above. We didn't until we were taught it and it was exciting to actually see what we had been told. I guess we should never stop learning.)

Good for you webfoot, for observing your cattle. That's not something everyone does. I enjoyed reading your post. Glad they gained weight and the calves were looking good. What else could anyone ask for?
 
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webfoot

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I don't think I ever saw all the cows in a single day. About 10 days ago or so I saw 13 calves. That same time I saw the 2 dry cows. I told Bert that it was about time to gather them. He was busy at the time but we put it on the schedule. Then last week I saw half a dozen feeding on the hill side in the picture. That picture doesn't do justice to how steep that hillside is. I wouldn't want to ride a horse across it. That is one of those places where dogs come into play. Somewhere between 200 and 300 acres. Three cowboys horseback and 2 on quads. Two cowboys and one quad rider (me) never saw a cow. The other two found 15 cows with 14 calves. The one dry cow I bought November 11. The sale yard vet called her 5 months bred? She definitely looks bred today, about 2-3 weeks off. If the vet was correct this calf will be about 3 months old when born. It should hit the ground running.
 

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Mountain Cowgirl

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Those hills are steeper than they look in photos. One really finds out how steep they are at fire fighting time. Hopefully, you won't have any fires this year. It is great your broken-mouth cows have faired so well and have healthy calves. Will you try to winter them or sell them in the fall? We always kept our best cows even after they were smooth-mouthed and they were fed chopped alfalfa.
 

webfoot

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Those hills are steeper than they look in photos. One really finds out how steep they are at fire fighting time. Hopefully, you won't have any fires this year. It is great your broken-mouth cows have faired so well and have healthy calves. Will you try to winter them or sell them in the fall? We always kept our best cows even after they were smooth-mouthed and they were fed chopped alfalfa.
These old girls were bought with the plan to ship by mid August. They will still be in good shape and kill cows price hasn't begun to slip. They will kill for more than they cost to buy. All we have against the calves is the feed cost. The calves will be 45 days weaned the end of September when they will go to town.
 

Mountain Cowgirl

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These old girls were bought with the plan to ship by mid August. They will still be in good shape and kill cows price hasn't begun to slip. They will kill for more than they cost to buy. All we have against the calves is the feed cost. The calves will be 45 days weaned the end of September when they will go to town.
That sounds like a win-win plan to me and would also eliminate feeding a bull. Buy as many broken tooth pregnant cows as you have hay for in the fall and then sell-off in August. Keeping brood cows in their prime and bulls isn't looking as profitable as it once was even if you don't have to buy hay. Add high hay prices and I see a lot more big acreage cattle ranches up for sale.

I see the Chandler Ranch is up for sale. I haven't heard any talk about why, but have to think that the registered cattle business isn't all that lucrative anymore and the only way to see any profit is to become a hay operation. I can't see how anyone could pay their price and pay just the loan interest let alone any toward principal and operating cost.
 

Evans

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About 7 weeks ago we branded the calves and hauled off the pairs. At that time there was 15 dry cows who hadn't calfed yet. We kicked them up on a couple hundred acres behind the house to calf. There has been no rain this spring so there wasn't much grass. It is a lot of up and down and sagebrush. The last week or so I kept seeing cows on a real steep portion (20% vertical rock). So I figured if they are there hunting grass it must be done. Yesterday we gathered them. Branded the calves and hauled them to the pasture where the other cows are at. We were surprised at how good condition these cows are in. These are all old broken mouth cows. They went from a grass hay diet on flat ground to rough ground where they pretty much had to walk stead while grazing. During this time they calved. And they all gained weight. They went from BCS of 4 or 5 (mostly 5) to BCS of 5.5 to 6. Calves looked good too.
During the dry years around here some of the cows got so mean they gave up on grass and started on meat. I think they where killing gophers and eating them. The gophers either died of thirst or got killed off by the cows.😉
 

Evans

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That sounds like a win-win plan to me and would also eliminate feeding a bull. Buy as many broken tooth pregnant cows as you have hay for in the fall and then sell-off in August. Keeping brood cows in their prime and bulls isn't looking as profitable as it once was even if you don't have to buy hay. Add high hay prices and I see a lot more big acreage cattle ranches up for sale.

I see the Chandler Ranch is up for sale. I haven't heard any talk about why, but have to think that the registered cattle business isn't all that lucrative anymore and the only way to see any profit is to become a hay operation. I can't see how anyone could pay their price and pay just the loan interest let alone any toward principal and operating cost.
Years ago I worked for a purebred outfit. His cost of production was crazy high compared to a commercial cow/calf outfit. If they keep their numbers honest then they are shoveling the best of a feed ration in front of them all the time. In drought years thats even harder to do.
 

webfoot

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The first I have heard about Chandlers. My only idea is that I heard rumors they haven't kept their genetics up to date. Chandlers started when gg grandpa pulled his wagon off the Oregon Trail. The property has been in the family about 160 years or so. Harrell Hereford in Baker seems to be doing just fine. The last couple of years the average at their bull sale beat Thomas Angus by over a thousand dollars per head.

Actually I prefer to buy those old cows in January or February. Even less time feeding them. This last year I started early because Bert wanted 200 of them. I only wanted 40. Not easy to find 240 broken mouth cows who are old but not too old or have any large problems aned fit into the budget. We were just looking at one I bought for him on Monday. Her udder is about dragging on the ground. She didn't look that bad when I bought her back in February........ she went to the sale yesterday. One problem with those buying those old cows, you will end up with some losers. I had one die and two that didn't give enough milk to raise a goat. Part of the game.....?
 

Mountain Cowgirl

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Yes, ranching is a gamble and the stakes are getting higher. Harrells have always run a top-notch outfit but on a much smaller scale than Chandlers. Are Robert and Edna still there or did the son take over. Bob and Edna must be in their eighties. I was on both ranches at least once back in the day helping with 4H workshops in beef cattle judging and showing.
 

Faster horses

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Years back a rancher here in WY bought bulls in the fall through the sale ring. He fed them, shaped them up and resold them and did really good. I don't think he resold them as breeding bulls because that was back when Vibrio and Trich was new and very scary. Leasing bulls in our country isn't very common to this day.
 

webfoot

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Yes, ranching is a gamble and the stakes are getting higher. Harrells have always run a top-notch outfit but on a much smaller scale than Chandlers. Are Robert and Edna still there or did the son take over. Bob and Edna must be in their eighties. I was on both ranches at least once back in the day helping with 4H workshops in beef cattle judging and showing.
There is no mention of Bob, just Edna. Bob Jr had taken over so I think Bob Sr. is gone. Bob Jr was president of the American Hereford Asso a few years back. I don't think they are much smaller than Chandlers. They may have grown and Chandlers got smaller.
They do a pretty good job of marketing. They hold their sale on a Monday with Thomas Angus being the next day. The host a "cowboy gathering" that evening with free food and drinks. They both benefit by getting more buyers into town. I figure I should do free lunch at Harrells, free dinner at the gathering, free breakfast at Thomas, and then free lunch on Thomas. I could eat for free for two days. Free food is always a good idea.
 

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