I have a great work schedule, and it allows for me to have every other Friday off. I enjoy spending these days with Clint, and since the ranch was preg checking heifers today, I got to tag along.
Dave Rademacher, DVM was pregging this morning and their vet clinic utilizes an ultrasound machine when they're in a location that has accessible power. The ultrasound machine allowed him and his tech to capture a picture so they could measure the fetus, and determine it's age based on size.
Each heifer that came through the chute got a call - 12-6, 13-2, 9-4, etc, that Patsy would record. The call stands for how old the fetus is in weeks and days - 12-6 meant 12 weeks, 6 days old, etc. Later, this information will get recorded and entered into software that helps keep track of each animal in the herd, and will be used to sort the heifers into groups as they get closer to calving.
Reproduction management in a beef cattle herd is key - without heifers and cows that have calves, a ranch as a business doesn't make money. The sooner you can get your heifers and cows bred, and the closer they're bred together, usually results in a larger and more uniform calf at weaning. Obviously, a bigger calf at weaning means a bigger pay check for the rancher. But uniformity is important too - cattle buyers like to buy cattle that are about the same size, so that they're easier to feed and manage in the feedlot, and a tight breeding season (45-60 days) helps facilitate calf uniformity.
Because it's been so hot lately, the Double M crew started preg checking early this morning. Starting when it's still cool in the morning is less stressful on the cattle....and on the people too! It was a great morning, and by 8:30, the ultrasound machine was packed away, the heifers were sent down the road to a new pasture and the rest of us were off to tackle the day!