Testimonial: . . . . [husband] left the banking business two years ag o this month and we have been in the cattle business full time since then. My dad wanted to quit running cattle so we were able to lease about 1500 acres of native grass pasture from him to run yearlings. We also have cows and some yearlings on pastures that have been in [husband’s] family. We had been running cattle on this acreage since 1985 . . . . .
The first year was a learning experience. We didn’t get any yearlings in until mid December as [husband] was still at the bank until mid January, the weather was bad, we had never done anything of this scale, we were together all day but we made it and before the second set of yearlings started coming in the fall of 2010, I had laid in bed at night with a small DVD player watching your DVD! It had belonged to one of our sons and was well used so it would not start from where you stopped but only from the beginning of a new segment. Since I would sometimes nod off, I heard parts of it several times!
Moral of the story is that it paid off and I feel like I can see the results. I am almost past hearing your voice telling me that “the cattle want to go past you” and then changing my position. I love that sometimes this means just shifting your weight from one foot to the other. [husband] and I can send 100 yearlings down the chute with out ever raising our voices, the cattle stay calm in the chute and don’t crowd up and jump on each other. My dad moved to town and has some time on his hands so he likes to come help and I want him to feel needed but he works the side of the chute and there is a noticeable rise in the noise level after he arrives. If he is not there, [husband] and I do it quite efficiently ourselves.
I never go to the back of the bunch “to push the log chain” anymore and it drives me nuts when other people do. I have learned that I can get the cattle moving from a long way away resulting in a slower pace “control the speed and then you can control the direction”.
I am always watching who is watching me so I can get to the right position. I am always trying to see one of their eyes because then I know they can see me. It reminds me of the signs on the backs of semis that say if you can’t see my mirror then I can’t see you or something like that.
I was in the marching band in high school and turning cattle by making one side come around faster is just like doing a line that pivots around a center person…the outside has to take bigger steps while the center just marches in place.
And you make my day every time I go to the back of the to bring the cattle to the chute “because you put your best person at the back”! That and the fact that I have never worked the head gate and besides I like seeing how calmly I can bring them anyway. We don’t have any Bud boxes as such but I have learned how our facilities work and it can be done. I once heard someone say that they wouldn’t ask someone to change their pens! That’s part of the challenge to see if you are good enough to make do with what you have, right?
I was reading one of your posts on the website about making a game of it rather than work and it is that way for me…I love puzzles and games…so now that I have a pretty good handle on some of the basics I enjoy trying other things just to keep things from getting boring and to test myself to see if I really have it. It keeps life interesting. And then of course every load of cattle that comes off the truck is different. I have also enjoyed witnessing how they will settle and show an injury or that they don’t feel well within a short time if I spend some time with them.
I still have room for improvement in getting the yearlings to go right back out to grazing after they have been down the chute or turned into a bigger trap but am working on it.
And we can get them to walk on to the trucks at the end of the summer so hope they are walking off at the other end and hoping that someone there recognizes and appreciates it.
Just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your sharing your knowledge and making my life easier and more interesting. My dad made the comment during the first year that [we] should hire someone to help us…he has always had lots of help and my brother who runs about the same number of acres and fewer cattle has two part time guys…but they don’t realize that by keeping the stress level down for everyone, it makes the work much more enjoyable and not nearly as tiring. I love what I do and can’t think of anything I would rather do and I think that has alot to do with what I have learned from you.