Moving into March on the Ranch

Moving into March on the Ranch

Hi I’m Mike, the cows are the backbone of
the ranch, and right now we are at the point where we can have a calf any day now. We are going to take a look at our most likely
to have that first calf of the season, and what else the month of march holds in store
for the ranch, on our Wyoming life. The ranch life is hard to explain, there is
the land, the animals, the fences and the oversized, almost over powering sky of Wyoming. That sky, day or night hovers over everything
we do here on the ranch. From it comes the sunshine, that plants and
animals both bask in, and the rain, that fills reservoirs and feeds the grass that in turn
feeds the animals. If life on the ranch is a cycle, that cycle
begins in the sky and often it’s the very first thing we look at every morning upon
adventuring outside. One look at the clouds, the sun or the lack
of either will sometimes dictate our day, week, sometimes our month. The month of March is a traditionally mild
month here in northeast Wyoming. The record high temperature for march was
set back in 1916 recorded at 92 degrees. The record low -23, on March 3rd 1960. Overall though, the average high for the month
is around 48 degrees, night time lows will still dip down into the low 20 and we can
expect about 11 inches of snow for the month. All in all, March has been a good month to
us over the years, and its traditionally a good month for the cows. A majority of the cows, about 60 to 70% are
entering their last month of pregnancy and any one of them could have a calf at any time,
although we would prefer if they would wait just a little while longer. One of the last things that develops in the
calf are the lungs. Calves born early are more likely to have
breathing problems, in additions its during this last month that calves will form their
final layer of fat about 2% of their body weight that will protect them from the cold. Any calf born early at this point will require
our intervention and help and its because of that we start keeping a closer eye on the
herd starting now and continuing through the end of calving which will be in June. Starting in March we will be out checking
the herd a few times per day, at least 3 during daylight hours and a couple of times during
the night. Cows are allowed to free roam about 400 acres
at this point in the season, although they all stick close to home, its any that wander
off that will definitely draw our attention, as a need to separate herself from the herd
is one of the first signs of calving, but like any rule its made to be broken and some
cows will have their calves right in the middle of everyone, sometimes during breakfast, pausing
only long to say hi, then getting back to eating. Because each cow in the herd has her own personality
its important that during calving you know your cows. Because I work often times by myself, I don’t
want to get hurt, and I make sure that during the entire season the cows are used to seeing
me, in the gator and on foot around them. They aren’t scared of me and many just see
me as another part of their world. Its also the reason that anytime I am around
the cows, I wear the same black jacket or hoodie. The cows see the colors and get used to them,
hopefully associating me with good feelings and happy thoughts. Another interesting wardrobe choice that I
make is the fact that I don’t wash my coat during the next few months unless I absolutely
have to. During calving, I will carry newborns, I’ll
have moms drop afterbirth into my arms and I will be pooed and peed on. All of that, carries with it a certain smell
that the cows recognize and one that helps them see me as less of a threat. Of course, don’t come into the house with
that coat on, in fact, keep a change of clothes somewhere. You are going to need them. Another thing that is never a bad practice
is note keeping. You have to know when each cow is due, that
is very helpful and luckily this year at preg checking, when we determined if each cow was
pregnant we were able to age her fetus and based on that we can get a rough due date
for each cow. So we know which cows are due to be calving
early. We also want to take any notes on cows that
we need to check more often, maybe a cow that has had problems in the past or one that is
notorious for having big calves that she cant have without some help. This year, I am breaking away from my pad
and pencil and I am going to try to join the 21st century. I have always kept cattle records on my computer
with a program called cattlemax, but this year I am headed out with an Ipad and a hotspot
from my phone that will allow me to keep those records on the go. I can now pull up, while in the field, which
cow is due to have her calf next, here we can see that we have a tree way tie, between
number 27, 150 and 184. I can also see their ages and any other pertinent
info about them. I know that while 184 is only 3 years old,
number 27 is 12. I also know that she had had a calf every
year, except 2015, those calves have all been average weight. I can also see that while she is due on April
2, in 2018 and in 2016 she had her calf about a week earl y of her due date. If I were a betting man, between her, the
middle aged 150 and the young’un number 184, I would say she would be the first to
have her calf. Then again, if I were in vegas they would
run me out of the casino because I have an unfair advantage, through years of record
keeping. Through cattlemax I can also add notes to
certain cattle but there is no real area to jot down a quick thought or something to remember
while calving, such as the location of a new calf, or a cow you want to check later on. For that, I use a google document. Its fairly simple to set up and I can make
notes on the fly, they are saved across google online and I can pull them up from any computer
and anyone I share them with can see them as well. This gives me a quick place to keep my thoughts,
cause my head, isn’t always the most secure storage place. So my life at this point becomes a lot of
driving around, checking on cows and looking at a lot of hind ends. In fact, I am quickly realizing that instead
of cows having ear tags, someone should invent tail tags, cause that’s where we spend a
majority of our quality time this time of year. Maybe something like a license plate. March may be the what we call the pregame
of calving, but its also a precursor to spring. Erin is getting busy planting and taking advantage
of her nice new grow room in the shop. Shes also already moving many plants into
the high tunnels, where they will continue growing even through the below freezing nights
and give us one of the earliest harvests in the area. Other projects that are coming up in March
include a brand new way to take home a piece of the ranch yourself through out website
and beef jerky raised right here, starting next month we will be offering monthly subscription
boxes, where you can get your favorite flavors of beef jerky, raised right here on the ranch
delivered directly to your door. And speaking of doors, you might be going
through this one soon, and come visit for yourself, the farm house is almost done and
in our very next video I will take you for a tour and let you know exactly how you can
book it for you next vacation, I promise not to work you too hard. Our goal is to bring people closer to agriculture,
and I can’t think of any closer than being right here on the ranch. Spring is around the corner, it doesn’t
look like it now and we still have a few snow storms ahead of us, and a few very hard long
days but with the right attitude, preparedness and a good pair of long johns, we have it
under control and I can’t wait to bring you along. Please subscribe, hit that thumbs up if you
enjoyed this video and get ready for a whole lot more as things heat up on the ranch. Until next time, have a great week and thanks
for joining us in our Wyoming life.

81 thoughts on “Moving into March on the Ranch

  • A “tail tag” has already been invented, as it were.

    It is called a “moo call“.

    Merely sequester your cows, which are due “any day now“ into a corral and clamp this thing to their tails. When the birthing process starts, the cows hold their tails straight up in the air and that sends a signal to your cell phone, which means you better get “your” tail over there.

  • I find it amazing how much technology has changed farming and ranching. Yet, old tricks like not washing your jacket is still relied on. Stay warm… And thanks for your videos.

  • I'll be booking that Airbnb soon, Ive thought about visiting several times if only to stop by the store. That would be better than staying in town somewhere. I'm an old school DJ myself from the 80's & 90"s, AM & FM. Enjoying My Mississippi Life😎

  • Question mike, why do you let them have so many acres to calve in? Wouldnt that make your job more difficult then keeping them in a smaller place? That's how we look at it anyways. Just curious on your thoughts on that. I like learning different theories of different farms

  • funny it looks just like the ranch I grew up in Northern Montana, gives me good memories and a few nightmares my friend, why is it a cow-calves in the worst place on the coldest night with the wind blowing and snowing?

  • Nice video update Mike, especially the part of Erin's early season garden success! So a calf or calves born tomorrow, it or they would need wait 4 years to be labeled as a yearling? There are after all some strange laws out there any more. -Bob…

  • Have you ever thought about getting rid of the cows are reducing numbers and buying in calves, so each animal will pay for itself rather than relying on 1 animal to pay for 2

  • Good explaining that Mike, that is the part of calving season you have to keep checking, everyday, day and night.. so many hours apart, I know it gets frustrating and time-consuming on times with cow's you thought would have it until days later she has but it's like I said before it's always a gamble game. But that's where you respect and help your animals if needed not only cuz there calving, but there bringing you more income for later on use, which is true if you think about sure some of the technology is great, other technology things we can live without.. but that's my opinion. So good video of the animals and explaining.

  • Mike, are you saying global warming existed back in 1916?….say it ain't so, we should let poor Great know. RFD tags should help in better identifying.

  • I know on the dairy side of farming some of them put a freeze brand on the rump so it'll be easier to read the number when they are milking her or when they are doing stuff on the back side of her.

  • Hi again MIKE
    Ready Set almost time! Hard to believe it's full circle with calving almost here. Surely hoping all will go good with not too many surprises. Especially with that fickle March weather! A yay for that cattle app to help you with all the data! Gotta give yourself every advantage! You and Erin have accomplished much since last year this time. You two don't collect any dust for sure lol. Don't forget to take care of yourselves and so look forward to going along with you again this year.
    Thank you both Mike for all you share. God bless…

  • I love that cram so much great and interesting information into a 10 minute video! Also, speaking of that coat/jacket, what brand is it? Looks like it would also come in handy hear in Kentucky!

  • Very cool edit, Mike. You just answered a bunch of my questions.
    Do you merge your google notes into CattleMax?
    I'll keep my chips on #27 April 1st.
    Thanks for sharing. -EZ

  • Hey mike not sure if you have heard of this but if you feed you’re cows in the afternoon they are more likely to calve in the daytime

  • Have you considered checking for the protein in the tail ,if they're pregnant or not. It will save you a vet visit when you can take the blood work to the lab yourself. Just trying to give you ideas to cut your cost.

  • Maine and Massachusetts have our big snow in march. Our record was 10 feet. But average is 5 feet..
    Global warming winters are my favorite.
    Your wife , like mine, tells me I smell to

  • I paid my first visit to Wyoming this summer and absolutely loved it. Keep doing what you are doing. It is very interesting.

  • Love your channel. I'd say you and the camera at best friends. You are a natural. God bless you and your family.
    I thank you as a farmer for all you do .

  • Maybe we have a calf pool one year for one of the local charities? Can you do those in Wyoming? At a dollar a guess I bet we could raise a lot of money for one of the needy groups.

  • You feed in the morning you might consider moving it to the afternoon we found we have less calves at night. And talk to text for note talking works real good i am trying to figure out how to hey google out to the paddock

  • Wow wish I could afford to visit and stay in your farmhouse on a vacation to be able to learn more and help you out on the ranch. Would love it. Bad thing is I might not want to leave. Lol.

  • Will the cold temp affect the iPad usage?

    Have you ever looked into a Gallagher livestock system. Scanner and data collection with a swipe of a wand. Expensive but many seem to love them.

  • Hope things go well through calving season, like no snow storms, and stays dry so your not fighting the mud. Mike if the weather were to change to the worst like blizzard warnings and 3 and 4 day storm do you move the cows up by the yard. I heard years ago that buffalo will go up by the yard and stay behind the barn 3 to 4 days before the storm hits. That was for someone that had a herd and raised them, is that true for cows in your case ? Do you have alot of twins during calving season ? Have you ever had a certain bull that kicked out alot of twins and possibly triplets ? I'm surprised you don't have a 2 way radio to be in contact with Erin or a Emergency happens while your out feeding and checking cows during the night especially. When I was working on the farm we had FM radios with a phone patch on them plus we had our cell phones. We had a fire on our combine and the boss tried calling 911 and it was busy, come to find out the our UPS driver had called to report it at the same time my boss did..Cant you use different colored paintballs on cows your watching during calving season.?

  • We never calf earlier than April and have the cows on dry land. Always have low birthweight bulls, haven’t had a calving problem in a decade. Never have to bring calves inside. I don’t understand how people make such a big deal of it. Not that hard if you’re prepared.

  • Enjoyed the video. We use Cattlemax too. I'm glad we don't get the amount of snow that y'all get. That is a lot. Good luck.

  • Do you ever think of building like smaller pens to put the cattle in during the calving season? And getting calve shelters?

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