Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Working Cattle: Part Deux

Ahhh, working cattle.  With my husband.  At least the vets are here.  And we have their chute.  Now D and I won't kill each other.  If we do there's witnesses.

"Where's that contract again?  The one that says we love each other no matter what we say to each other in the next 4 hours? The one that says we will still be civil no matter what stupid ideas each other may have?" 

"Love you honey!"

 "Yeah, love you too..now get off your blog and get the heck down here.  There's work to do!"

This should be good. 

I'll write more afterwards, unless there's a broken arm, hand, pride or heart. Oh heck...I'd find a way to type.  I'll take one for the team. =)

"Coming sugar loaf!" 

Okay I'm back...what a day.  We worked 340 head, gave them implants, poured them, castrated the bulls and tipped horns. With a few surprises put in for good measure.

These are our vets, Kristen, and Vicki.  Vicki and I get our kids together and we are quite good buds.  So, with those two working chute and animals and me getting the cattle in the chute at a steady pace, we were hopping.  But still managed to talk kids, recipes and how the summer is flying by.

But with all the weird cattle issues, we still had plenty of work to do. 

Just to recap, we feed cull cows, cull bulls and yearlings. To be frank (which I will be quite often in this blog post) the owner we feed for buys cows/bulls that people don't want in their herd anymore, for any reason.  We call them junk cattle, but they pay the bills, so onward with the story.

This group we worked today literally had everything in it.  Big, small, ugly, limps, cysts, big horns, no horns, 6 teats, pink eye, lice, big puss sacks (yeah, here comes that Frank again, sorry.) YOU NAME IT...we got it in from the sale barn.  We even had a mummified calf being born while she was walking into the chute, (sorry, Frank got pics of this). 

You know you love to hate the gross.

But we will start with this.  This piece of equipment has been quite frankly responsible for saving our marriage.  It's the vet's hydraulic chute.  I love it.  Big D loves it.  If I could come up with the money some how I'd buy it.  Right now it's like #5 on our list.  #6 is a new house with more than one bathroom.  I can't even remember #4...it's not important compared to the hydraulic chute.   You can see in the picture that Vicki is using hand controls to open it from behind and in front.  It can even squeeze their whole body.  Ours is levers and pulleys and end gates that get kicked off, but I guess it still works and as long as we can still rent the vet's chute, well, life is good.  But some day....

Sorry, one more thing...it even stretches their necks so you can give shots easier so they aren't throwing their heads all over.  AWESOME!  K nuf about the chute!

This is Vicki "sawing" off horns with a wire string.  It works really slick, I had never seen it done this way before. 

Now this is the gross...look away if you must.  Whatever...get it together and don't be a baby! =) 

As D is running cattle up the catch pen to the chute, he yells, "Have'em take a look at the third one coming."

I quickly glanced at it.  It looked like a prolapse.  I yelled up to Vicki what I thought.  Then I looked closer.  It was a mummified calf.  Like the vet said, "They must have known that they had a cow with a dead calf inside her and decided to quick get her to the salebarn."  I told you, we get everything. Then the vets fix everything.

Oh you guys, you are so lucky that I didn't get a picture of the puss sack that was hanging on the rear leg of one.  It burst when she was running and it sprayed out about 2 feet and it looked just like cottage cheese and milk.   There must have been over a gallon and a half.  Kristen cut it so she could get the rest out and clean it and rotten muscle came out.  Worse yet, she swished her tail as it was spraying and I got some on my face and shirt.  BUT alas, I had to put on my "big girl pants" and deal with it til we went to clean up for lunch. 

Yep, we even feed our vets.  It did take 6 hours....we needed food!  Even after the puss incident.

I know, you're thinking, 'why did you share all that disgusting crap with your readers?'

Because farming is a hard career with some pretty downright gross things that we have to see and work through every day. I really think that there are some people that are so removed from agriculture that they think a farm is a little white house with a little tractor and a little field that they tend to and the livestock is always happy and the pork chops get made magically at the store.  I feel that we need to share our stories and show people what happens in our day to day lives here on the farm, good and bad.

 Why are Big D and I a part of agriculture? Because we love it. We love being a part of America's food chain. We really consider it an honor.

With that said, here we are at the end of it all, Ron is taking five before we clean up.  I'm so sore that I would love a hot tub and a wine cooler, but I guess I will have to settle for being splashed by 5 kids whike they get bathed and some luke warm kool-aid that's still sitting on the table from lunch.  Mmmm-mmm good!

Happy trails...where's the Icy-Hot?
Fairchild Farmgirl

PS I've entered this blog in a farm blog contest from http://farmnwife.com/farm-blog-contest just giving a farm update.  Visit FarmnWife and tell her you like my post.  I could win a prize! =)


  1. Oh my that is alot to process in one day. I'm impressed with your almost all girl crew. I LOVE IT! I've fed cull cows before so I know what you guys do. I go to the sale barn every week and see there is a buyer for everything and a niche in the beef market for us all. TH buys "odds". The odd steers that don't fit on a load or with anything else. By the time he puts a pen together, they actually go together pretty good. We also buy steers that might have a little something wrong like a high back, bad foot or eye, or absess. Then we heal them up and turn them out or go to the feed lot. As for the cute...ours belongs in the Smithsonian. hahha Terah

  2. I meant the chute belongs in the Smithsonian. :) When we have people help us work cattle, TH doesn't yell near as much as when it's just the two of us. So I know he can control it if he wants to. He might pop a vein though. Terah

  3. Nice post and great way of adding in the photos. I just never can remember to stop and take a photo. Since my wife and I do all the cattle handling around our place I understand the yelling.