Well, they're off! Well, the calves anyway...oh hand Mr. and Mrs. Hatch. All on their way to Great Falls to sell the calves.
I was a beautiful morning here. Cool 35 degrees and sunny. We all headed out early to watch. It never fails though, almost as soon as Alex hears those cow's bawling he falls asleep. Which is fine, he probably wouldn't remember it anyway. Colton and I perch on a round bale and watch. I think both of us wish we could be of some use. But due to his size and my general inexperience we are sideliners.
So, the morning started with a prayer. "Lord please let the work today go smoothly." God is good even though it was a fair amount of work the cows and calves separated well.
For those of you who don't know how this works and for my own documentation because I didn't know how this worked, this is how we get calves ready for shipping.
We need to first start about two weeks ago when the final bunch of pairs returned home from summer pasture. Cows and calves where separated and the calves where worked. What I mean is that they where run through the chute and given their pre-conditioning vaccinations and wormed, this is done to help with the stress of travel and protect them from any virus' they might encounter durring transport. I think this is good stockmanship. And it makes sense. The calves are returned to their mothers for another couple weeks grazing on home ground.
Fast-forward two weeks to yesterday when all the pairs where gathered. Then this morning is when the real work began. Mr. Hatch, Mrs. Hatch and Kyle where out the door early. The Manley's (good neighbors) brougt their cut-back calves that were going to ship the Hatchs calves. Then they stuck around to help with sorting. Everything worked like clock work. First they separated the cows from the calves. Then the heifers calves from the steers. Then our own cutbacks. Our cut backs happen to be a cripple calf, and two august calves too young to wean.
Soon the semi trucks came rolling down the drive. Two semi's to be exact. The drivers pulled up to the ramp and loading commenced. I was amazed to realize how many compartments are in the cattle trailers. Repeatedly the driver would call for 10, 8, 15 calves to fill the different compartments.
Most of the calves loaded easily, though there where a few that had a mind of their own.
All in all from sorting to shipping it took a total of 3 hours. Which always amazes me how fast they can get things. done.
So, once they where loaded everyone sorted through paperwork and tied up any loose ends. One of the truck drivers was very kind and let Colton sit in his truck and pull the horn. Which of course was the high light of the day for him. then just as fast as they rolled in they where off. Mr. and Mrs. Hatch in-between.
So, great minds may wonder where our calves are shipping to? They are going to an auction in Great Falls. This is kind of an experiement for the ranch. Typically ranchers will contract with a cattle buyer early in the season. The cattle buyer will give a set price per pound. Of course this is not the gaurentee, because even though the buyer and the rancher agree on the price there is some negotiating involved and of course the buyer will often leave "cut-backs" which are calves that he doesn't like. The cut-backs then have to be sent to auction anyway. Mr. Hatch met with several cattle buyers but for whatever reason, he decided that this auction would bring the best return on his investment. So, they are off and by tomorrow night he will know. All I know is that we are praying blessing on them.