This summer many parts of the West are experiencing record high temperatures and very little rainfall. By early July these conditions had already taken a toll on pastures and hay crops and many stockmen are already looking at potential alternative feeds. There are a number of non-traditional…
Most internal parasites of horses are worms, but bots are the larvae of a fly that needs a horse to complete its life cycle. This parasite spends most of its life fastened to the inside of the host horse’s stomach, spending the winter robbing nutrients (from blood) of the host via the stomac…
In the fall, most cattle are vaccinated. Cows are vaccinated at preg-check time, and calves are vaccinated at weaning. Almost every cattle producer will include a seven- or eight-way clostridial vaccine in these vaccination programs.
Cows need different nutritional levels at different stages of gestation. As the fetus grows larger, the cow’s nutrient needs increase. If a cow is lactating, feeding her calf, she needs a much higher level of protein and energy than when she is pregnant.
Some ranchers have wild, aggressive cows and other ranchers have mellow animals that are easy to handle. The difference is mainly in how they are handled and trained from the time they are young.
Dr. Pete Erickson, extension dairy specialist, University of New Hampshire, says the most important thing for any newborn calf is to ingest colostrum as soon as possible.
Sometimes cattle must be restrained for medical or management procedures (treating an injury, dehorning, minor surgical procedures, etc.) and there are ways to keep them calm without having to resort to tranquilizers or other drugs that would take too long to be effective, especially when pu…
The difference between good hay and poor hay (with less nutrient content or moldy and dusty) is primarily timing of harvest.
Extremely hot or humid weather creates risk for heat stress, but it’s most likely to be life threatening when a horse is exerting (creating more body heat) or being hauled in an enclosed trailer with inadequate ventilation.
Tall larkspur (wild delphinium) grows in patches in moist areas along streams and in aspen groves. It is more of a problem for cattle than the low larkspur that tends to grow all over the foothills.
When building barbed-wire fences, many people like to put one or two stays between each post, to help keep the wire tight and maintain proper spacing, which can also keep cattle from reaching through the fence. The stays make it harder for cattle to put their heads between the wires and stre…
This is the second part in a three-part series about the Siddoway sheep ranch, focusing on the ranch’s bottom line. Part III, addressing labor challenges in the sheep industry, will run on March 26.
This is the first part in a three-part series about the Siddoway sheep ranch, focusing on the ranch’s origins. Part II, on finding ways to make ends meet, will run on March 12. Part III, addressing labor challenges in the sheep industry, will run on March 26.
Editor’s note: This is the final part in a three-part series about the Siddoway sheep ranch, focusing on labor challenges in the sheep industry.
Editor’s note: This is the second part in a two-part series about Wagyu beef. The first part about bringing Wagyu into the U.S. ran on Jan. 29.
There are many “traditional” practices and old wives tales about how to get a newborn calf breathing—some of which are valid and helpful, and some are not.
Editor’s note: This is the first installment of a two-part series on caring for older horses during winter, focused on feeding them. The second installment will run on Jan. 1, focused on keeping them comfortable.
Editor’s note: This is the second installment of a two-part series on caring for older horses during winter, focused on keeping them comfortable. The first installment ran on Dec. 18.
Cattle have a large digestive tract. Body weight varies, depending on whether the tract is full or empty. Gut fill depends on how much the animal has eaten or exercised, or how far it has been hauled. Morning weights, when cattle are relatively empty because they’ve been resting instead of e…
Randy Hettinga of Kuna, Idaho owns a hoof health company called Professional Hoof Trimming. His goal is to help dairy farms maximize herd hoof health by providing on-site maintenance hoof trimming and lameness treatment. He also offers training courses and consultation services.
Over the past 50-odd years our kitchen has occasionally been an intensive care unit for baby calves. Some needed warming in cold weather or emergency treatment after a traumatic birth or during acute illness. Premature babies that were too fragile to be outdoors spent days or weeks in the house.
Editor’s note: This is the second installment of a two-part series on a very special saddle. The first installment ran on Nov. 6.
Editor’s note: This is the first installment of a two-part series on a very special saddle. The second installment on passing the saddle through several generations will run on Nov. 20.
Editor’s note: This is the first installment of a two-part series on handling spooked horses. The second installment will run on Oct. 23.
Editor’s note: This is the second installment of a two-part series on cattle handling. The first installment ran on Sept. 11.
There are basically two types of cattle in the world today. One includes the European and British breeds that descended from the original wild cattle (Bos taurus) of those regions. The other includes the more heat-tolerant animals of the tropics (the hump-backed droopy-eared Zebu cattle, Bos…
Editor’s note: This is the first installment of a two-part series on cattle handling. The second installment will run on Sept. 25, offering tips on sorting cattle.
Editor’s note: This is the first part of a two-part series on building and maintaining fences. Part II will run on Aug. 14.
Editor’s note: This is the second part of a two-part series on building and maintaining fences. Part I ran on July 31.
Editor’s note: This is the second part of a two-part series on an exceptional ranch horse named Surrocco. Part I ran on June 5.
Rattlesnakes are plentiful on most western rangelands and pastures during summer, and sometimes people, pets, horses or livestock get bitten. A few years ago my son was bitten on the leg when pushing through thick brush to get some cattle out of the creek bottom where they were not supposed …
Editor’s note: This is the first part of a two-part series on an exceptional ranch horse named Surrocco. Part II will run on June 19.
Editor’s note: This is the second part of a two-part series on Patton, a heeler cow dog that lost his legs and continues to work cattle on wheels. Part I covered his accident and ran on May 8.
Editor’s note: This is the first part of a two-part series on Patton, a heeler cow dog that lost his legs and continues to work cattle on wheels. Part I covers his accident. Part II will run on May 22.
For centuries, horsemen have been using teeth as a means to help determine a horse’s age. The baby teeth come in at certain times, are shed and replaced by permanent teeth at certain times, and then the permanent teeth show aspects of wear that can help you determine how old the horse is.
There’s not much more frustrating than discovering that your four-wheeler or ATV won’t start when you are fixing fence in the far pasture and it’s a 2-mile hike home, or you drove out to check on the calving cows and it quits on you. Being able to do basic repairs on the job, on the ranch — …
Alan and Leslie Alexander, owners of Hang’n A Cattle Company near Pasco, Washington, lost six registered Charolais cattle this summer during a lightning storm. The cattle were on rented pasture about 15 miles away from their ranch.
Editor’s note: This is the final installment of a four-part series on Shiner Ranch in Idaho’s Lemhi Valley. It focuses on using horses to deliver hay to livestock.
Many ranchers have raised calves on bottles. It might be a twin, or a heifer’s calf that isn’t accepted by its mother, or a calf whose mother died. The important thing, if it’s a newborn calf, is to make sure it had colostrum within the first hours of life (from its own mother or from anothe…
Editor’s note: This is the third part of a four-part series on Shiner Ranch in Idaho’s Lemhi Valley. It focuses on the ranch’s draft horses.
Editor’s note: This is the second part of a four-part series on Shiner Ranch in Idaho’s Lemhi Valley. It focuses on the Yearian family.
Editor’s note: This is the first part of a four-part series on Shiner Ranch in Idaho’s Lemhi Valley. This installment focuses on the family’s history.
Editor’s note: This is the third part of a three-part series on a Wyoming rancher who still uses draft horses in his operation. This installment focuses on horse breeding.
Many horses get a vacation during winter, yet these months can be a fun time to ride, if you and your horse are prepared. Deep snow, slippery mud, ice or frozen ground can be treacherous. Bare feet have better traction than most shoes; the sharp edges of the bare foot can cut into the snow o…
Editor's note: This is the first part of a three-part series on a Wyoming rancher who still uses draft horses in his operation. This installment focuses on haying with horses and feeding with teams. Future installments will run Dec. 27 and Jan. 10.
Cattle health is influenced by many factors including nutrition, environment, stress, exposure to pathogens, etc. Going into winter, cattle should be in good body condition and have adequate forage.
There are basically only two kinds of bits — the snaffle (with no shanks) and the curb (with shanks). Plus, there’s the Pelham, which combines a snaffle and curb, but there are hundreds of different variations on these two basic types. A so-called double bridle, used by some English riders, …
When culling cows, ranchers need to have a plan, to make the best decisions for their own operations. The plan should include pregnancy testing and closely evaluating every cow. If you had a dry summer and the cows came in a little thin after raising their calves, that’s not the best time to…
A few months ago, I saw a photo of an old barbed-wire fence with each wire held in place by duct tape. I’ve never resorted to duct tape, but I’ve used other unusual methods to patch a fence.
Iain Aitken is passionate about Luing (pronounced ‘Ling’) cattle and their traits that make cattle-raising easy. He and his wife Rowena have 200 head of this Scottish breed on their farm in Manitoba.
Fluid and electrolyte loss may lead to fatigue, muscle spasms and cramps, thumps (spasm of the diaphragm muscle, triggered by a decrease in calcium and potassium), dehydration, or heat stroke in horses that work hard in hot weather. Dehydration from sweating can interfere with the body’s abi…
High summer temperatures can present problems for working horses. Temperatures above 80 degrees increase the risk for heat stress or heat stroke if relative humidity gets above 50%, with no breeze. Under these conditions, a horse has difficulty cooling himself, since sweat does not evaporate…
There can be advantages to using several species (cattle, sheep, goats) to utilize certain pastures. In the past 30 years, there has been a lot of research on the use of sheep and goats to control noxious weeds and brush without chemicals. Bret Olson, department of range, Montana State Unive…
Horse blankets are most often used in winter, but sometimes lightweight “fly sheets” are used during the summer to protect horses from biting flies. Show horses are sometimes blanketed for turnout to keep them cleaner if their pen gets muddy. A sick horse may need to be blanketed during incl…
There are times you might need to haul a mare and foal, or multiple broodmares with foals.