We are a family owned and operated farm, which means we are the sole employees of our operation. We don’t rely on others to take care of our animals. Most of my vacation days from my day job are spent at home working our cattle. Last week I took a vacation day so we could work cows and get them to summer pasture. I made sure I had my camera handy so I could take some pictures to share with my readers.
We do “trade” labor with neighbors. This means they come help us work cows, and then in return, we help them work their cows. Its a win-win situation for everyone!
When I say “work cows” this is a term cow people use to describe a day spent deworming, vaccinating and checking the overall health of our animals. We all pitch in to help when we work cows and calves. Family is always involved when we work cows. There are some up and down moments, but at the end of the day it is definitely quality bonding time!
Our cowherd is worked twice per year. When they go through the chute, this is the time we also check the teeth on our older girls. As cows age, their teeth become worn. If they become too worn, then they have trouble chewing the summer grass or harvested forages during the winter. In the fall, all our cows get the same routine, but also are pregnancy checked.
Cows are susceptible to many internal and external parasites. We “drench” our cows when we work them. This is a term used to give them a certain type of oral dewormer that rids them of internal parasite. They are also “poured.” This is a term used to describe an external dewormer that kills external parasites. Lice, mites, ticks and horn flys are a few of the pesky critters that bother cows!
Everyone working cows that day knows their job, and we all work together to create a quiet, low stress environment for our cows. They handle much better when the atmosphere is quiet and relaxed. When the cows are calm, it is safer for them and their handlers. We all know what our jobs are, and try not to get in each-others way. It is almost poetry in motion!
My job when we work cows is to run our squeeze chute. This is what holds the animals still so we can work them. I also give them their dose of drench. I’m fairly certain that if I ever had a tapeworm, I don’t have one anymore after a days worth of drenching cows!
Working cows can be fun and hard work at the same time, but it is very rewarding labor!