A Change of Address…

#718 spent the remainder of the fall, and until the end of January in a large pen with his herdmates near the AL Ranch headquarters.  The end of January, #718 and his herdmates were trailed from their “backgrounding pen” to the main corrals in order to load on a semi-truck, and be shipped to my feed yard.  #718 weighed 925# at shipment time (he’s come a long way since weighing 86#’s at birth!).  It takes about two hours for the cattle to make the trip from AL Ranch to the feed yard.

Upon arrival at the feed yard, #718 was unloaded and moved to the home pen with his herd mates after a short acclimating session.

Unloading off of the truck...

Arriving at the feedyard...

“Acclimation” is a very important process that we follow at the feed yard when we receive new animals.  It occurs over a 5-7 day period as we transition or acclimate the cattle to their new home.  We implemented acclimation protocols at the feed yard about five years ago, and it has made a tremendous difference in lowering the stress level of the calves as they transition into the feed yard.

Watch these next series of (obviously amateur and unedited) videos as I take a group of cattle through an acclimation session…The video clips show 1. emptying the home pen, 2. trailing down the alley way to the corral, 3. cattle handling in the corral, 4. returning to the home pen, and 5. back in the home pen at the end of the session.  I shot this footage last Sunday morning as I exercised cattle at the feed yard, and I hope that it will give you a deeper understanding of what “acclimation” means, and how important I believe that holistic care is for my animals.

3 Comments

Filed under Animal Welfare, Beef Life Cycle--Calf #718, CAFO

3 responses to “A Change of Address…

  1. Steve Duke

    Really nice explained videos…..just wondered how the hot summer heat been effecting you and the animals? Mine just want to hang out in the shaded barn most of the day.

    • Hi Steve-

      We have changed feeding schedules to try and minimize the effects of the heat on our cattle. We are “reading bunks” at 5:30am so that we can have breakfast delivered by 8:00am (prior to the heat setting in). We feed again late afternoon as it starts to cool off. We also make sure that we only handle our cattle in the early morning hours or at night. So, if we need to “work cattle” or “ship cattle” we are doing it in the coolest part of the day. We also have a tractor pull -behind water truck where we can spray the front parts of our pens with water which helps to cool the cattle off. (The water cools off the ground and helps to keep the area by the water tank and feed bunk cooler for the cattle). We also do not feed as many cattle in the summer months and tend to not fill our pens as full. This helps ensure that there is an unlimited and clean water supply for the cattle. We will begin placing more cattle on feed by mid-August and the feed yard will be full again by late fall.

      The first week of the true heat is the hardest on the animals. They (like us) acclimate to the heat some and find ways to tolerate it. Cattle are much more “cold tolerant” than “heat tolerant” so this is the hardest time of year for them. We tend to cool down at night in Nebraska (into the high 60’s) even when it is awfully hot during the day. This helps to give the cattle a chance to recover from the heat of the day during the night. I am looking forward to the fall “cool off”!! By September, we will be wearing our sweat shirts again in Nebraska!

      Anne

  2. Steve Duke

    Thanks for the response…. the cows could (I know I would) handle of couple of sweat shirt days too!

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