Our 2020 calving season officially started 3/30/2020! Here are a few pictures from a couple weeks ago when we were just getting started. We had mild/comfortable temps, but then an Easter storm came in. Although the cows didn’t enjoy it, this photographer did a little.
We pulled the trigger on upgrading our herd genetics. Thanks to Darol Dickinson at DCCI we will be adding some unique longhorn color variations with major horn genetics to our herd. This will be stepping up our herd to consistently produce cattle in the 70 to 80+ inch horn range. When it comes to breeding top genetics time is everything, so it’s better to start today rather than tomorrow.
We have gotten a picture of our daughter with a calf each year and this year we didn’t get one right when the calf was born so it was a little more of an adventure. Kori loved trying to sneak up on Pepsi and gave her a big hug. 🙂 See the last photo for how our son Klayton thought about it all…. 😉
Our family recently relocated from OK to WY for a new adventure. This has resulted in our cows being temporarily relocated to MT where they are adapting to wide open skies and a little cooler temperatures. This move will be temporary, and we will eventually end up back in Oklahoma at our ranch in 2-3 years. The move was a learning experience, and we are looking forward to raising longhorns in a different market while trying to help promote the breed.
It takes a few minutes to get the cows rounded up. I don’t know who had the brilliant idea of vaccinating the whole herd the day before…
The move consisted of a large semi-trailer that was able to conveniently load like a typical goose neck trailer.
Couple by couple we got the cows comfortably packed in where they would spend the next few days crossing the country.
After getting their fill of road time for the year, the cows were more than ready to hop off the trailer where they found snow and brown grass.
Our in laws and the kids thought it was pretty cool to see them arrive in their new home.
Over the next month, they settled in nicely.
I was worried about losing an animal or having a major issue, but the worst side effects from the move were realized by our cow Sunflower. A couple weeks after arriving in MT, a spring blizzard hit, and it hit Sunflower’s ears especially hard.
Thankfully, she was the only one to have any adverse effects from the move, and she will live on to tell the tale of her beauty marks another day. We are excited to see our herd evolve and adapt to their new home. Over the next few years, they will just have to enjoy their new view and get used to the weather.
Last fall we got our first herd sire from DCCI out of Ohio. Our herd has grown beyond our humble 2 heifer beginning where we could give each cow special attention and trips to get AI’d as needed. We still plan to use AI’ing in our herd development but see a huge value in having a quality herd sire that we can use on the majority of our herd and as a cover bull for our AI cows. After talking with Darol Dickinson about several bulls and debating what would be best for our herd, we landed on a young bull named Hurricane (aka Prairie Dust due to a records mix up).
Hurricane has everything that we were looking for with his traditional genetic ties going back to Don Quixote, while exhibiting all the qualities of the modern improved longhorn. His black and white color is a great match for our existing herd that is filled with most white, red, and brown. A part of him that stands out is the amount of horn he has for a black and white bull. His horn is low and flat with rapid growth that we look for in our animals. His quality really shines through in his thick trim body from head to toe.
He has great thickness in his hind end and a flat correct back. His front shoulder exhibits the desirable thickness that will bring big boned strong calves in the coming years.
He is a huge step up in genetics that will take our herd to the next level.
Not to mention that this animal took the #1 spot in our herd for being the most tame and easy going disposition. My wife had her doubts, but she is still a little beside herself in trying to figure out how it can be that a bull be so tame.
After several AI attempts and 9 long months, we finally got to welcome another calf from Kola. This time it’s a flashy bull calf that looks just like her mini-me. We are excited to have another calf to halter train, spoil with cubes, and get ready for sale. I am confident this one will make a great addition to anybody’s herd with the great Dickinson Cattle Company Inc. genetics we picked up using Tuxedo.
We have had a busy spring. Fortunately, we acquired an old ranch homestead in April which has allowed us to grow our herd and cut back our hay bills. It has been a significant effort to repair the fences which is why there have not been any posts recently. Eventually we plan to move to the property and reclaim the land to what it once was.
The property has been an enjoyable weekend escape for our family providing many challenges that allow our minds to be freed from our city jobs.
We sold our first calf this week! It was exciting, challenging, and even a little bit emotional. Most people remember their first pay check or dollar they made, a symbol of their hard work and bookmark for a new chapter of their life. Our first longhorn sale has brought a similar excitement. We are navigating our way to building a business and slowly seeing our visions become realities. On the other hand, the last couple of weeks exposed me to the most difficulty I have had weaning a calf. Mill Iron Man was a skilled escape artist, and I probably need to work on tightening up the corral. Every night that I tried to separate him from his mom, he would end up beside her by sunrise the next morning. He somehow shimmied a gate off of the hinges two of the nights, and another night, he unchained the gate. If I would have only known, his name would have been Houdini. Beside his escaping abilities, he was the easiest calf I have had to get started on a halter. Either very intelligent or he had a true passion for cubes “cake” which made him easy to train. It is probably a good thing to be selling quality animals that make you second guess yourself as you see them go, but we will definitely miss his spunky sprints around our pasture. Thank you to Behrens Farms, and we wish them best with their new addition.