The bull is half the herd

Mike moved the cattle over to my side of the canyon a few days ago, and they have settled in to graze on the fresh spring grasses. He raises beef cattle, keeping one bull for his herd of cows. The bull is replaced every few years, usually by being sold on to another rancher. The cows are kept as long as they produce fresh calves.

Beef prices, like most other farm prices, have been down for quite a while, so the herd is now down to the bull, twelve cows, and about ten calves. The remaining two cows are still pregnant, and their calves are expected shortly.

These cattle are normally quite placid, even the bull. At least as long as he's in with the cows. A man on foot can move them easily by simply approaching the outer limits of their safety zone. The trick is not to spook them, just keep them moving where you want. Dr. Temple Grandin's web site describes the techniques in some detail.

Newborn Calf

May 15, 2000: Coming home today I discovered this mother and child at the top of my driveway. The calf was just born, his coat still wet. He is one of the precocious ones, on his feet at once, and bouncing around happily. A few days later I saw him butting heads with some of his bigger herd mates. This little guy has lots of personality!

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