Fall is another busy time on the ranch. Towards the end of September, we bring all the cows and calves home from our summer pastures and weigh each calf.
The weights are important for our ranch records so that we know what each cow produces. We then pick out our replacement heifers, which are the heifer calves that we plan to keep in our herd and breed next summer. At our ranch, we strive to have a uniform group of calves to sell so we also pick out any calves that are too small, usually under 500 lbs. These calves are kept over the winter and put out on pasture for the summer and then marketed next fall as beef. Once the calves are weighed, they are turned back with their mothers until we sell them.
We always enjoying seeing the cattle on the hayfields around our home during the fall.
After we sell our group of calves at B.C. Livestock Producers Co-op in the beginning of October, we then wean any of the calves that are being kept over the winter. This includes the replacement heifer calves, bull calves and the small calves. We first sort the cows from calves and then vaccinate each calf. I will write a post later to provide further information about our vaccination program. We walk through the calves twice a day to ensure that they stay healthy. If necessary, we will medicate any calves that show signs of being sick, such as a runny nose, cough or loose manure.