Working Cattle In The Spring

(Today, I have a guest photographer. Please welcome Gitzy and her wonderful photographs.)

Twice each year, in the spring and again in the fall, we work our cattle. We round them up, give them all shots and move them from one pasture to another. In the spring, we get them up from the spring pasture where they’ve been hanging out with their calves for the last few months, and move them via semi truck a couple hours to the summer pasture where they will stay until November. It’s a yearly cycle, and part of the changing seasons for us.  So a week ago Sunday, Harland with the help of his nephew and brother, rounded up the herd with 4 wheelers into the cattle lot. There, the cows were sorted (separated) from the calves.

Cows go out of the pen, and calves stay in.

This is done to protect the calves from injury. Cows can get so worked up when handling they can trample their own calves by accident, so for safety’s sake, we put the calves in their own pen. Then we (notice I use the term we loosely. I hang out on the periphery helping out where I can) drive a small group of cows into the chute

where they get their shots

and pour-on.

The shots are for illnesses that would prevent the cows from getting pregnant, or losing their calves(they have a date with the bull in less than a month),  and the pour-on is for treatment of worms and to keep flies at bay. Then they are let out of the chute and another group of cows is chased in for their shots. After the cows are done, then the calves get their shots for pinkeye and blackleg.

And the guys get kicked by the calves with their little pointy hooves. This is always the guys’ favorite job of the day. Not.

Then we eat lunch and kill some time while waiting for the semi-truck to arrive.

Upon it’s arrival, it backs up to the chute, the cattle are driven up into the truck,

the trucker puts them into different compartments to evenly distribute the load,

and then the truck leaves for the 2 hour trip to the summer pasture.

We load up the calves into our stock trailer (more kicking from the calves and bruised shins)

and then we’re off to the pasture as well.

At the pasture, the cows are unloaded first into one pen.

They look longingly at the acres of lush green grass. And then they remember their calves and call them.


We unload the calves into a separate pen,

and open the gate between them so the cows and calves can reunite. The cows can’t wait for their babies to nurse. It’s been a long day and their udders are full to bursting.

“Nurse faster kid, nurse faster.  Ahhhhh…….”

We let them all settle down for about an hour, so everybody calms down and gets their bearings. Then, we open the gate to cow paradise:  Acres and acres and acres of grass and shade.  Here’s a short video of the best part of the day:


Thanks for coming along, and hope you enjoyed the trip.

Please stop by the gift shop on your way out.

-And a big Thank You to Gitzy for your beautiful pictures. You can see more of her work here.

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Cattle, corn, wheat, beans, mud, snow, ice, and drought. Plenty of fresh air and quiet. Our life is sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes joyous, but never boring.

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30 Responses

  1. Gitzy Loder says:

    This was such a good learning experience. Thanks for letting me be a part of it! Good times!

  2. Tina says:

    The splash for worms and flies was interesting. The poor calves looked scared getting ready for their first truck ride. I wonder what they were thinking….and the cap looks stunning on you, Darling! Giyzy, thanks for the pictures!

    • Suzanne says:

      Yes, they were scared Tina. We try to move things along as quickly as possible to diminish the stress. It was the first of many rides for them. Older cows hop on the trailer without a whole lot of fuss, most of them that is.

  3. Pam K. says:

    SO interesting! Love the video to finish off the great photos of the day! Are they still burning off fields in the neighborhood–I saw the smoke. Thanks for posting and letting us experience this first hand!

    • Suzanne says:

      Thanks Pam,
      Yes, there are a few fields being burnt, latecomers to the burning. Supposed to be burned no later than May 1 is my understanding.

  4. Glenda says:

    I want to know where the “above” shot was taken from as the calves exited the trailer. On the second level of the trailer or surely not on top?! Whew! Good one though.
    That is a beautiful view from the summer pasture looking south.”God’s Country”.

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Glenda,
      Yes, the above shot as the calves exited the trailer was from the roof of the trailer. Was Harland’s idea. Gitzy and I both were up there. REally neat angle. 🙂

  5. Louise says:

    Now that’s one syringe I’d want to stay from!!! And I love the hat – sexy lady.

  6. Mary says:

    Love the pics.
    i just love this blog and you sharing your farm life. It’s good for people to see how much work is involved. Thanks for sharing. Great looking calves by the way.

  7. CreationsbyDina says:

    Oh my Goodness!!! The fields are just beautiful. I love the hills and all the farms in the background. How many head of cattle do you have? What do you use the cows for? Are they beef or dairy? I grew up on a dairy farm and we had holsteins. I have a friend who raises dexters. I love the cows but I still just love all the rolling hills and the open pastures. It reminds me when I was little. I spent so much time in the pastures just roaming around with the cows!!

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Creations,
      We have a herd of 50+. Ours is a cow/calf operation, meaning we have cows, and every year they have calves, and when the calves are about a year old, we sell them. They are beef cattle. We do have 1 half holstien half angus cow named Dolly. She’s nearly tame, unlike our other wild beasts. She has rather large calves that look a month old when they are born.

  8. Suzanne ~ We also raise cattle on our farm here in Missouri. Our pastures are all within about a six mile area. Since you are a couple hours away, how do you check the cattle?

    Love your pictures and videos. I always look forward to your posts.

    My great-grandfather lived in Clay County, Kansas in the early 1900’s. I’m hoping to visit there this fall.

    Marilyn in Missouri

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Marilyn,
      We check on them once a week, and while it isn’t very often, we usually don’t have any problems with them there.

  9. Kerry Hand says:

    Good to see that green grass. Nearly a year now I have been watching your blog. The grand march of the seasons. Great. Kerry.

  10. athena says:

    I really loved watching them run into that big green field and hearing all the “mooooooooooos” of happiness. Thanks for sharing!

  11. I really enjoyed this post. First of all…I am loving the farmer’s wife hat! That is awesome!!! What an adorable photo! I love the photo of the cow calling her calf and how you said they are so loud. That pasture looks beautiful. So much grass to wonderful for them. I love the rolling hills, so pretty!

  12. Doe of Mi. says:

    That was great watching the cows go thru the gate. Haven’t been that close to a cow in a coon’s age! Some weren’t bothered passing so close to you and others were real shy. I used to love being around the cows and we had pigs that were fun too. Thanks for that video.

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Doe,
      Yeah, some of them don’t like me so much, and I wouldn’t have been standing right there, but I wanted to get the video. They wanted to get at that grass so bad.

  13. Dianne says:

    Very interesting post! Watching the cows pass through the gate to the pasture, I’m reminded of the Temple Grandin movie. If you haven’t seen this movie, you really should – know you would find it interesting.

  14. Alica says:

    My favorite shot is the one of all the cows lined up at the gate, waiting to be reunited with their calves! So typical!

    I’ll have to talk my husband into getting a syringe like that one…it looks like it has a trigger…much better than having to depress the plunger slowly while avoiding hooves!

    • Suzanne says:

      Yes, that syringe is much quicker. He carries it like a Colt 45 and once the needle is in, “click” and it’s done in a fraction of a second on to the next cow.

  15. Teresa says:

    What a great job well done. I still need to pour my cattle for the spring.

  16. Peggy says:

    I just love your post. I have been away from my computer for a while so now I’m catching up. I know that is lots of hard work. My favorite part or your post is the last picture of you and Harland. Team work!

  17. Louise S says:

    Still catching up on old blogs occasionally, and I loved this one. My favorite part was the pic of you and Harland looking off in the distance watching the cows and also in the video when Harland was following the cows as they walked towards that little valley. It was reminiscent of parents watching their children leave the nest. Pulled at my heartstrings! Honestly, they probably do feel like your kids after taking care of them for so long.

    • Suzanne says:

      they do…we’re glad to be releived of the responsibility of watching them all the time from Nov thru May, but it’s also a strange feeling, like, “you can’t just disappear over that hill, who’s going to watch over you?”. But that pasture is 200 acres of running water, trees and plenty of grass. They do just fine. It’s an empty feeling when we get back home though. I guess an empty nest thing.

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