Sunflower from the Sunflower State

Sunflower from the Sunflower State

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

It's All About Drive


I had the theme song from "Bonanza" stuck in my head as I watched the cattle move toward the gate.

I had parked the pickup at an angle across the road to the north, so theoretically, the cattle should turn to the south. And they did. The cows have been through this process before, so they were old pros.

The babies lagged behind, kicking up their heels as they came through the gate and rounded the corner onto the old wooden bridge, clickety-clacking as surely as the three billy goats gruff of fairytale fame.

A little follow-the-leader is always good, until someone decides to stray off the path.

During the past couple of weeks, we have been busy with a County Line springtime ritual.

It's all about drive - in one way or another.

For one group, we "drive" the cattle using two four-wheelers and a pickup to shepherd them from a pasture to the farm's working chute about a half-mile away.

I took this photo from the pickup as I was trying to keep the cattle from crossing the road.

For three others groups, we literally "drive" the calves to the farm using a pickup and trailer. There, each calf is run through the working chute for immunizations and to turn the bull calves into steers. More on that process tomorrow.

In order to work the baby calves, we have to first sort off the mamas from the babies.

I don't have many photos of the sorting action. Jake runs the gate while Randy and I try to get the mamas to leave the sorting corral without any of their offspring slipping by. There are enough challenges with that process that I don't need to complicate it by clicking away on the camera.

The mamas bellow when they end up on one side of the fence and the babies end up on the other.

The babies are equally vocal on their side of the fence.

But all's well when they are reunited after the calves' "doctor's" appointment.

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