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January Cow Work

January cow work

Yesterday we had the promise of semi decent weather. The last two years have given us Januarys with feet upon feet of snow and the only activity we could get any mileage with involved snow shoes or skis.

Yes it has us nervous about how dry things might be this spring but it also has us outside and horseback more than normal which I definitely appreciate.

We had a handful of cows that didn’t come home this fall so our first mission was to seek them out.

We found them almost as far away from the house as possible. The three of us headed them for home and split off to double check different valleys.

Once we made it home with them, we had enough daylight left to do our second project.

We had put cull cows and calves that didn’t make the truck back out with the main herd after we pregged this fall. We also had the first calf heifers with the main herd. We needed to get them all sorted off into their respective groups.

It was a first for Weebeast and another chance for Husbeast and me to get to work our horses. Sorting is always the most fun. Well, second to branding that is.

Anyway, Weebeast got to pick some cows out and we rotated taking turns sitting in the gate while the other two brought the chosen cow. Weebeast liked his gate spot the best. We pulled cull cows first and sent them to their new pen.

The first calf heifers came next and then we tucked them away. With those two bunches the most efficient way is to bring one cow at a time. We took turns riding in to the main bunch to find either the cow that was marked as a cull or one of the first calf heifers. Once she’s spotted she’s followed out of the main bunch toward the gate we want her to go through. Whoever stayed out of the bunch tried to push the other cows back so the chosen cow is the only one who comes out. Sometimes it works to bring a couple together but usually once they have figured out you’re singling them out they try whatever tricks they can to get back to the main bunch. With the last few minutes of daylight we had to pull calves off.

We did that by putting the remaining cows and calves in the back and letting cows filter back out to the big pen. We finished just as it was getting too dark to see.

Weebeast and I took the heifers down the road to their pen in the dark. These January days may be pleasant and we may have gained a minute or two of daylight in the afternoon but it still isn’t quite enough for long cow work days!

When we rehashed the day over warm dinner we all agreed that we had enjoyed the whole thing. Gathering took Weebeast to places he hadn’t ridden before and sorting gave him two jobs he hadn’t got to experience. We all enjoyed an unusual January play day!

This morning’s chores will tell us what we have in store today. Did everyone stay where they were put last night? We will know soon enough. It’s foggy this morning and Jack Frost came by last night. The temperature on the porch just now reads at 2° so I’m hoping we are pleasantly surprised....


Meet Ruby

I am Ruby Uhart.  I'm a ranch wife, mom, bonus mom and teacher.  I'm a story teller and keeper of memories.  Thank you for visiting! 

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