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Y4 Ranch Lowlines

  Raising Quality American Aberdeen Cattle

April 17, 2018

The morning blessed us with almost two inches of snow. In our desert climate you just don’t argue with God, we take moisture anyway we can get it. The snow did interfere with my morning ritual, which is to look outside to see if I can determine how much the grass grew or didn’t grow.

In our climate this is one of the worst times of year for a cow. The grass is trying to grow. The cows want grass and are tired of eating hay. The cows look at the feed racks and run around the fields getting a bite of green here and there. We call it chasing grass.

As they chase grass we watch the weight flee from their bodies as they struggle to put their all into milk for the calves. We try our best to supplement them with vitamins, minerals and protein but still they slip off and become skinny cows.

I think watching the first calf heifers struggle is the hardest. What happens to them during this time in their lives has such a lasting effect. If they drop too much weight it effects when they will cycle and breed back. Their decline in weight also effects milk quantity and quality, which effects the quality of calf they raise. All these factors are used in determining if the heifer gets to remain in the herd or will be culled and sold.

This is the time of year in which we sell a lot of cattle and bulls. I work hard to get decent pictures as I am not a professional photographer. I take lots of pictures of the baby calves this time of year, but not the cows or bulls. Why, they look like hell.

I cringe every time someone wants to see a couple more pictures of the animal which is for sale. It seems I have spent a lifetime explaining what happens to a cow when she is chasing grass. I wonder how many sales I have lost in my life over a cow chasing grass.

I ponder and wonder if there is better way. If I had a feedlot I could lock them all up and they would have to eat hay. This year finds me with the same answer as last year, I am doing the best I can. I guess, my only hope is to become better at educating folks about cows chasing grass. My new slogan is she will never look worse than in this picture.

Happy spring,

Missy Ousley