Yesterday I mentioned that the ranch keeps all of the heifers they wean at the white corrals. These corrals are separate from the feedlot, but the same trucks that feed at the feedlot also come down to the white corrals to feed the heifers. Twice a day, the guys deliver feed to the pens so that the heifers can keep developing and growing.
Since these heifers are separate, Clint or Jesse will ride each pen daily and check health. It's important to catch sick heifers early, since we want them to feel good and stay on feed. Also, it's less expensive to doctor a calf that's only slightly sick (elevated temperature of 104* and showing signs of sickness), then one that is very sick (106* temperature or higher) and the cattle have a better chance of responding to the medicine if we catch them early.
Each pen is ridden horseback, and if a heifer looks outwardly sick, she's pulled out of the pen and taken to the corrals. Once all of the pens are pulled, the heifers are brought up the alley to the chute where we use a thermometer to temp them. If their temperature is elevated, they're doctored with the appropriate medicine. Cattle normally temp at 102*, and we usually doctor anything above 104*. Each heifer's treatment is recorded, and the heifer gets chalked with the first letter of the medicine, somewhere on her body.
Left hip is Sunday, left rib is Monday, left shoulder is Tuesday, face is Wednesday, right shoulder is Thursday, right rib is Friday, right hip is Saturday.
We usually doctor with Nuflor, Resflor or Zactrin - so the heifers will get an N, R or Z chalked in whatever location corresponds to the day they were doctored.
|You can see a heifer in the middle of this picture who was doctored with Zactrin "Z" on Monday (left rib), and another heifer to the left of her that was doctored with Nuflor "N" on Saturday (right hip).|
For example, I doctored a heifer with Nuflor last Saturday, and so she got an "N" written in chalk on her right hip. That tells anyone who rides pens in the coming days that the heifer was doctored, and they know which day so they can 1) continue to watch the heifer and make sure she gets better and 2) not pull and doctor/over-medicate a heifer who was pulled on a previous day and already doctored. It also helps us visually see what pens are staying healthy, and what pens may need something modified - medicated feed, etc.
The nice thing is that the white corrals are really a great place to develop heifers and keep an eye on them. And the new bunks & pipe work really are functioning well!
Now that this cold snap is over, we hope that the weather AND the calves will straighten out and that the amount of doctoring goes down. But even then - the pens will still be ridden every day to make sure that the health of the heifers is looked after.
Success is reason enough.