Tag Archives: Home Ranch
Unloading the heifers AKA home school
We brought the heifers, recently gathered at Powder Wash, to the Home Ranch. The unloading crew was Eamon, Rhen, Sharon and Siobhan. Our equipment included a mop in lieu of a “poking stick.” This exercise fulfilled home schooling requirements for animal science, mathematics and physical education.
The Fall Sort
October 1st is the off-date for our summer grazing permits on the national forests. We spend a lot of time staging the trailing off of both cows and sheep. We consolidate sheep bunches, move them onto private pastures, and bring every ewe and lamb through our corrals and sheep chutes at the Home Ranch. We sort the lambs off the ewes. Some lambs will go to a feedlot to gain more pounds, and some will stay home and become replacement ewe lambs.
The ewes are sorted several way. Ewes with good health and good udders stay with our bunches. The “good old ewes” who are short on teeth but otherwise sound will go to buyers, usually in the Midwest, who can care for them for several more years, in conditions more forgiving than Wyoming’s Red Desert. The “killer ewes” or culls will go to slaughter.
All this involves a lot of moving parts, but when we’re done, we’re ready to move onto other late fall pastures before the long trail to the wintering grounds.
Branding season commences. We have most of our baby calves on the ground. We have to pick the right days for branding–after the calves are big enough to not be too stressed, but not so big that they will cause the branding crew too much stress. These calves have reached that “Goldilocks Moment”. In the last few days, we have branded one set of calves on the Home Ranch, and one set of calves in the desert at the Powder Flat Headquarters. We even had a photographer from the Library of Congress, Carol Highsmith, to document the great American branding. As usual, we had child labor on hand.