February 19, 2015


Brett managed cattle operations at Zapata Ranch from 2014-6.

A few weeks back we weaned and sold the calves at the Zapata. Planning is always an important part in everything we do at the ranch and this was no exception. Two months before, we had decided to sell the calves through Superior Livestock Auction. Kenny, a Superior rep and neighbor, came out and filmed the cattle.
As we approached the sale date, Kate, Jessie, and I progressively moved them towards headquarters. The day before, little Duke, Kate, and I moved them from the Blanca, a 1300 acre pasture, to a 100 acre meadow next to the corrals.
On sale day we saddled up early and brought them into the corrals. Both the brand inspector and vet came and checked the herd and gave us the required paperwork.
We worked the cattle up the alleyway allowing the cows to come back and leaving the calves. We then sorted the calves according to sex. Heifers went to one pen and steers went to another. Both groups of calves were weighed separately by Kenny and a total weight was recorded.
The trucks arrived and we loaded according the each truck driver’s requirements. Cattle are loaded into trailers in set groups because each trailer has separate compartments, so only small amounts can be loaded at a time.
After the calves were loaded Kate and Jessie herded the cows down the raceway. I caught them in the chute while Little Duke did the preg checking. Opens were sorted into a smaller holding pen and bred cows were let into the larger corral where they would be turned back out.
I recorded each open and bred cow for future records, and then we counted the cattle when we were done to double check our numbers.
The open cattle were loaded into a trailer and hauled to a local market. The bred cattle were turned out to pasture.
Doing all this in one day is a lot of work and takes a good team, but is one of the highlights of the year for me.

Photography by Isaac Cole

2 replies to “Weaning Time

  1. barry addison

    Why did u sell calves but didn’t wean 4 45 days then sell???

    1. Tess Leach

      Each arrangement is different and in this case we agreed to sell the calves directly off the cow. Typically we do wait for a period after weaning before sale, but this was a different deal. Thanks for your question! Apologies for our delay in getting back to you.

Comments are closed.