Fall is my absolute favorite time of the year. Of course, I love all the typical fall things, bonfires, sweaters and the leaves changing colors. But what makes it even better is the fact that deer season is coming, Thanksgiving is almost here and we get to do one of my favorite farm activities: working cows.
Most people call me crazy or at least give me weird looks when I say that I love working cows. But I just love the fact that we get to bring all the cows up, check for health issues and give them their shots, and then let them all go again. My inner cowgirl also likes to play ranch hand for a day!
Of course, whenever I say giving cows shots, I enter straight into the latest controversy, this time involving Subway.
Each year, we feed out the steers from our herd and sell that beef directly to consumers. We get a lot of questions, but none of these questions have ever stemmed from antibiotics. Mainly the questions we are what do you feed them, do they get grass, and how do you cook brisket?
But when giving antibiotics, we, like most cattlemen, give the recommended dosage to keep cow and calf.
We use syringes that can be set to give a specific amount. But when working cows, we give vaccines, not actual antibiotics. Vaccines help prevent sickness from happening, while antibiotics help stop it once it has already happened.
Generally, it’s Bethany’s job to know what shots are giving to each cow and how much. She will then hand that shot to our neighbor, Rex, who will either give it subcutaneous (under the skin) or intramuscular (in the muscle).
Dad and I work the cows through the lot to the shoot. Most of our cows have been on our farm long enough that they know if they get through the shoot, there’s usually grain on the other side. But then you have the speedy little calves.
Working cows in the fall also involves cutting the calves, so once one bull calf goes through the others need a little more convincing.
When it all said and done, each cows is ready to beat any problems that may come this winter, and we are dog tired!
Did I answer all your questions? If not, ask them! I would love to clarify!