Cattle drive at Rucker

Cattle drive at Rucker

Well several weeks ago Jan and I moved our one herd of cattle to the Judy farm, (where we live). We picked an early Sunday morning while everybody was sleeping in (typical custom of Americans!) We set up the lanes the previous night. Had to go through a neighbors farm with one lane, down about 1 mile of gravel road, up the driveway to our house. Everything was going fine until we peaked a hill and the neighbors dogs came charging out to their fence (dogs were confined to their yard). Jan was bringing up the rear and she could not hold them when they turned back.

I went back with her on the ATV and we brought them up the hill again, they finally passed the dogs and stormed up the hill and our driveway to their pasture. Probably took us about an hour or so to move them. The money in hauling, the reduced stress on the cattle from not hauling made me smile all the way to the bank. I took Jan out to breakfast that morning after we were done and told her to order anything on the menu she liked! It is hard telling the economical savings that we made that morning in 1 hour. It was huge, way over $1000. It was a wonderful feeling to be sipping coffee and eating pancakes by 9 am instead of sorting and hauling cattle all day. It was a wonderful feeling coming back from breakfast and watching all the cattle contently eating the freshly exposed stockpile of grass. We have enough grass on this farm to last 6 weeks, then on to the next farm.

Hay prices this year have skyrocketed in our area, luckily we have only fed hay 9 days all winter so far. We had 3" of ice on the ground which made it difficult for cattle to break through. But during those 9 days the herd was consuming around 13 bales per day. At a cost of $60 per bale for large round bales (that is what I can sell them for) that is $780 per day in hay feeding or $23,400 per month savings in feed bill. Gosh, it sure makes you appreciate being able to graze all winter and the cattle are healthier as well. Every single neighbor around us has been feeding hay since November, I honestly do not know how they can afford it. If they calculated out what their hay was costing them and what they are selling their calves for, I bet they would have a huge surprise.

Two things we learned, contact all neighbors the day before with dogs and ask them kindly if they could pen them up 1 hour prior to moving the cattle. We also need two people as blockers at the rear, one person can not hold them from going back. Our next move will be a little more challenging, 3 miles with numerous yards, unfenced areas along the road and several bridges to cross. It is no longer an issue of "If it can be done?", we will do it !!!!

Cattle can walk and we will learn to move them better as time goes along.

Posted: 2008-01-25

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