Friday, October 23, 2009

The Cowboy Way and Modern Animal Science

This week we only had two days to harvest. While that was really frustrating, it was not the biggest worry. The middle part of this week brought rain and a sudden drop in temperatures. Not only did that stop harvest but it also is bad news for my freshly weaned calves.

Rain and a cold temperatures often spell the start of sickness in calves. However, that was not the case at our ranch. Why did we escape without any illness? It was the result of planning, consultation with our veterinarian and hard work.

First, we provided our cattle with the resistance they needed through a good vaccination program planned with our veterinarian. The calves could fight anything mother nature and stress sent their way because they were vaccinated against common bovine diseases.

Second, we weaned the calves so they had nose to nose contact with their mothers. This lessens the stress weaning brings on. The calves were old enough that they no longer got their nourishment from their mother's milk. They are ready to be on their own and the close contact with the cow helps this transition.

Finally, we watch them closely and try to give them a good, clean environment. This morning I was late to work because I moved them to a dry area to lessen the stress. I didn't really have time to move them, but that is what we do. Our animals must come first.

Now this doesn't insure that our calves will not get sick but we have given them every advantage so they can fight any illness. In the meantime, we will hope for sunshine and dry weather, and we will keep constant watch on the calves. If they do get sick, we will treat them with the latest in modern veterinary medicine. That folks, is the cowboy way with a little modern animal science thrown in.

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