After the Fall gather and bringing them to the home place we sent them out on some corn stalks for a couple days before selling the calves. Here we are the bringing them back in to sort off calves and take them to the sale barn.
It is easier to separate cows from calves instead of calves from cows. The whole bunch barely fit in our unfinished corrals.
Cows are separated from the calves. Steers and heifers are separated too so we could choose some replacements.
The truck was right on time, and so were we, for once!
Loading them up!
Since the cows were already in the corrals we had the vet over to preg-check the cows. Pretty good pregnancy rate, just over 90% and that's about average. Two old cows didn't breed back, along with some heifers that never bred at all. Sadly a couple of good cows were in the canyon pasture where the bulls weren't around when they were cycling so they were open too. That's the risk you take in canyon pastures, but we don't keep anything that's not pregnant. We hauled them to the sale barn where they were selling open cows before the calf sell. It was a busy place that morning!
Lunch at the sale barn cafe. Only real food at this sale barn! The ranch hand got a hamburger and onion rings, the little ranch hand got chicken strips and french fries, while I had half a hot roast beef sandwich. Real potatoes and homemade gravy on a brisk fall day really hits the spot! What can I say, I'm a potatoes and gravy kind of gal!
We waited a long time for our calves to come in. Lots of people around here run really big cows, so their calves were REALLY big. They also cost a lot more to feed and maintain. Ours were a little smaller, but if you do the math you actually make and save more money on moderate framed cattle than big giants. This still isn't too comforting when their calves are big compared to yours. Do this math though. Let's just use a small number of 10. You can run 10 big cows that wean 10, 600 pound calves. That's 6,000 pounds, and you are paid per pound in the sale barn. But you can run 13 moderate framed cows for the same price as you can 10 big cows. They wean 525 pound calves, times 10 calves equals 6,825 pounds. Plus it costs more to finish off those bigger cattle too. I'm not sure if buyers take all of this into account when looking at cattle that come through the auction ring, but we got a good price for our calves.
Back home that evening we got a good look at our replacement heifers. We had 19 reds that were replacement quality and decided to pick a black one as long as it was an 84S daughter. They are very consistent in size and looks. Buying better bulls that are all related is paying off already. Next year will be a big deal because ALL our calves will be out of an 84S son bull. Sounds like a funny thing to get excited about, but I really am! Growing bigger and better every day!