Our days begin just after sunrise.
Full feed bunks are a sign of healthy cattle. Stress and sickness directly effects appetite.
Cattle comfort is key!
As stockers, we buy high risk 350-450# heifers from local auction markets. We develop these animals to approximately 725# creating a predictable product for our feedlot customers.
We have cowboys...
(and occasionally a cowgirl!)
...who ride pens daily, checking on cattle and making sure they are healthy.
Again, cattle comfort is key!
Our employees play an integral role in our success. Without them, this level of care and attention to detail wouldn't be possible.
This is our composting site. Unfortunately, not all of our cattle make it (remember, they are high-risk). When that happens, they are brought to this pile, covered in wood chips, and nature does the rest. If you look closely, you can see steam coming off the top, that means it's working!
Our son, Cody, delivers a fresh load of feed to the bunk.
Our feed consists of ground hay, corn, wet distillers grain and various by-products along with a balanced vitamin and mineral program specific for starting and growing cattle.
We source most, but not all, of our cattle from auction markets within 150 mile radius of Bowling Green, KY. After purchase the animals are hauled to our shipping barn as soon as possible. It is extremely important to transport the cattle to a clean environment with fresh hay and water as soon as possible.
After cattle are unloaded into the pens, they are left to rest for several hours.
Then, we go through and count the cattle, to make sure we received what we paid for.
After they are counted, we release one pen at a time to be processed. They weave through a series of gates and chutes, designed by the now world-renown, animal behavior and welfare expert Temple Grandin.
Processing cattle is the term used for individually administering vaccinations, parasite control, tags, and sample collection for diagnostic testing on the new arrivals. Here, Cyndi is labeling the ear sample vials with the animals ID.
The number on the ear sample container corresponds with the ear tag number. We take ear samples to test for Bovine Viral Diarrhea (BVD). Those that test positive for BVD will be put in a separate pen, so they don't infect the rest of the herd.
Cody M. coaxing one of the animals into the chute.
Cattle wind their way through the alley single file. Pour-on parasite control is applied now.
Cody G. (our son) is operating the chute. It's his job to open and close the front and back gates so only one animal is in the chute at a time. Once the animal is in the chute, it will gently squeeze the animal, which calms it down.
Vaccinations and a dewormer are administered.
The animal receives its ear tag, so it can be identified and tracked, as well as an ear implant, which makes the animal more efficient. By making the animal more efficient (without any harmful effects), it produces more meat, using fewer natural resources, which is better for the environment.
The cattle are also given an oral dewormer. The oral dewormer takes care of immediate problems but does not last long term. An injectable is also given and begins working in a few days but does have a longer term protection.
Jason takes a small sample out of the ear, puts it in the corresponding numbered container, and then disinfects his tools. The samples will be sent off to the lab to be tested for BVD.
Jason and his daughter, Caitlyn, chatting after all the processing is finished for the day.
This is our granddaughter Karlie. At 2.5 years old, she's already learning the ropes...
...since she frequently tags along with her dad.
Keith spends most of his day delivering feed to the feed bunk in each pen.
The cattle quickly begin to recognize the sound of the feed truck and make their way to the bunk.
Karlie helping with the gate.
Marketing and risk-protection are vital in this industry. Details have to be managed before you realize there's a problem - not after!
But the fruits of our labor are so good!
This is a local sale barn, where we source some of our cattle. Cattle are sold in a live auction.
The evenings bring about chores for the cow calf portion of our business. Raising Cattle is usually divided into 3 segments. Cow-Calf folks specialize in calving out Mama cows. As Backgrounders or Stockers, we tend to be the middle men. We purchase animals as they are weaned from the cows and grow them to a weight more appropriate for the next segment known as Feedlots. The cattle will typically spend the last 4-6 months of their lives in the feedlot. Most of our business is stocker cattle but Cody and Jason have a cow calf operation as well.
This is why we do what we do. Karlie teaches us the value of slowing down to help create those precious memories.
The cows and their calves are coming to greet us!
They know Cody and Karlie have feed.
These are the moments that remind us why we do what we do.
After checking for new calves, we notice a mama (not pictured) who looks like she's having a hard time with giving birth.
We call in the reinforcements to bring the supplies needed, in case we have to help her with the baby. Fortunately, we came back to find, that she'd given birth while we were gone, and all had gone well. Watching her claim and clean up her baby was such a rewarding ending to our day.