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Gathering The Sand
Category: Live from the Ranch
 Couldn’t have asked for a better day today, it was absolutely gorgeous.  Low 60’s, sunny, hardly any breeze.  We ran the horses in first thing in the morning, caught and saddled our mounts and headed out to “The Sand” -- the eastern part of the ranch -- to gather all the cattle and start trailing them in to headquarters.


We tried something different this winter than we have in the past.  Traditionally, we wean the calves off the cows in the Fall and run the calves and cows separately, taking the pressure off the cow so she doesn’t have to support a calf and a fetus simultaneously, a difficult job when it’s cold and all the grass has cured.  This year, however, we kept the calves on the cows, hoping to wean a much heavier, healthier calf.  To ensure the cow is able to meet her nutritional requirements, we spread the cattle out over a number of pastures so that they had a high selectivity of plants, enabling a much consistently higher plane of nutrition than in our previous model.  The cattle all looked fat and happy, the pastures looked great, and some of the calves are as big as the cows.


We trailed them halfway to headquarters and tomorrow are going to saddle up early again and bring them the rest of the way home.



Posted by Apprentice A. on 01/28/2011

Thursday, Jan 20, 2011
Category: Live from the Ranch
 So far it’s been a great week.  Productive, fun, sunny -- aside from the little blizzard yesterday.  We’ve been busy replacing broken boards and straightening gates in the corrals, getting them prepared for these next couple weeks when we’ll trail in all the cows, sort off and wean the calves, and ship some cattle off the ranch.


There’s two new interns on the Chico, Erica and Armando, who are getting into the swing of things.  They’ve been doing the majority of the corral repair, and are now getting turned loose on fixing a lot of the barbed-wire fences around headquarters that need some attention.  This morning Erica and Armando got to sit in on our grazing planning meeting, where we all got together and started planning the grazing for this next year, trying to figure out how to harvest Chico Basin’s forage in the most efficient, healthy, and productive manner, for both the cow and the grass.  We’re trying to match the cow’s cyclic nutrient demands with the grasses and pastures that provide it accordingly (e.g. pastures that are upland prairie vs. riparian, predominantly cool season grasses vs. warm season).  It’s a great time to grasp the big picture of the ranch, the livestock, and the people, and try to plan everything in the most beneficial way possible. 


This afternoon, Duke Jr., Erica, Armando and I saddled our horses and rode out a couple miles from headquarters to gather a pasture.  After trotting around awhile we finally found them, a group of yearlings we’re putting into a grass-finishing program we’re involved in, and began trailing them back to headquarters, so we can ship them to a neighbor’s pasture tomorrow.  We got back right as the sun was going down, one of the more spectacular sunsets we’ve had in a while.

Posted by Apprentice A. on 01/20/2011

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CONTACT US 719.683.7960 info@chicobasinranch.com