When its 28 degrees, windy and spitting snow, I try really hard to get out of gathering calves! Not, however, if your a 4 year old that just found your spurs that you lost at the last cattle working! So, saddle old Tomcat, find the gloves, get the stocking cap, get on, ride around for 3 minutes and decide “my hands are freezin, mabey I’ll ride later!” No judgement from me! Treys a big boy, he can gather them on Buck, no problem!
This is a day that we really look forward to. Sort of the climax of the years calf crop. We look at them, sort steers from heifers, pull off the “bottom end”- those are the smaller calves, ones that were born later than most and anything that isn’t doing as well. Those go together in a pasture so they can eat without nearly as much competition. Then we look at the heifers (girls) and see who we think will make a good momma in the spring, make comments as they go by like, “that’s a nice one” and “She’s out of that mean bitch” and “there’s a soggy one” and put them all together in their pasture to grow and develop. Then we look at all the steers.
Recently, Bailey has started helping the county 4-H and FFA kids with their beef project and this year she will have 9 kids that will be leasing and showing Rocking M Steers with her help. That means we wont just be looking over the steer calves, we get to pick show steers from our bunch. So, needless to say, Bailey was doing a happy dance at the prospect of looking through the steers and picking “her boys” out of the pen. Just to clarify, we don’t really raise what you would call “show steers”. Our herd is made of Gelbvieh and Balancer cross bred cows. These are mommas that produce beef. Yes, they are pretty, but they aren’t really the kind that win the state fair club calf show. They could possibly win the carcass show, and that’s where our focus is! Anyway, Baileys girls are jumping stiff legged to get a look at this years calves. Last year her girls did a great job and Bailey got first hand experience at being a room mother for a bunch of teenage girls and their very large charges! They went to several county shows and showed at Missouri State Fair. I think lessons learned from a summer of showing calves will be priceless in the future. They all took home a few ribbons and a few bruises and at the end, lots of tears and a real appreciation for the hard work it takes to take a calf from weaning to finished and ready to go to town. Tomorrow everyone will come out to the ranch and look at what they will be doing for the next 8 months! Every one of her girls from last year will be there checking out the boys and is ready for a new year.
Calves were shuttled to their new digs, everyone got a full bunk of feed, and all the guys were ready for a hot bowl of chili!
And that is what our day looked like. An early start got feeding done, calves sorted and horses put up by 2. That’s a win my books any day!