Chico Basin Ranch

To view entries by location, click on a ranch name: Zapata Ranch // Chico Basin Ranch


The Chico is an 87,000 acre cattle ranch on the eastern plains of Colorado. Its sprawling ranges of short grass and sandsage prairie, spring-fed lakes, and creeks are home to diverse populations of birds, pronghorn, deer, fish, prairie dogs, coyote, badgers, and much more. Owned by the Colorado State Land Board and managed by Ranchlands, the Chico also offers education, farming, recreation, sporting, arts, and hospitality programs.

June 6, 2013

Kenny’s Branding

Yesterday at Kenny’s branding I took Grace and Julie and their friends and we worked most the morning with the rest of the crew helping Kenny brand his calves. This photo is of Grace (behind the calf, holding the rope) helping get a calf down.  It was her 16th birthday and I was so proud of her out there mixing it up with all the boys.

Tomorrow we brand our first group of calves.  It’ll be all day because theres lot

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June 1, 2013

A Long Way to Green

This week Stuart and I made the long trip out to Central Kansas to check on some calves we sent out to pasture there about three weeks ago.

May 18, 2013

Spring has sprung and it brought puppies

This picture shows two of the best things about spring: green grass and baby animals.

I was charmed by the winter here; it felt ageless and permanent.

But it wasn’t. The past few days, the trees finally started budding, and some grass appears bold enough to invest in new growth. The crafty momma cows have carefully picked out the sporadic patches of remaining nutrition all winter and now have fat and glossy calves to show for it.



For those of you who are

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May 14, 2013

Slickers and Sombreros

In denial of today’s 85-degree weather, let us harken back to that magical day when water came from the sky.

This photo captures Harper practicing his great passion—skill acquisition. Here, our slicker-clad hero works on flinging himself upon a compliant Elmo without the aid of stirrup, bucket, or running jump. This particular (failed) attempt resulted in a determined shake of his head and a resignation that—along with the momentum of that massive boot—brought him triumphantly on his pink steed.
Twas an all

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May 11, 2013

A Little Bit of Hope

Zan and Harper with the Beefmaster herd making tracks through the mud.

A half an inch of rain does not the end of a drought make, but it sure is nice to remember what rain feels like.  The rain fell slowly in intermitant showers, mostly over two days.  Many areas of the ranch, such as Headquarters, recieved at least a half and inch.  A few bright spots nearly an inch.  Exactly what the long term inpact will be will depend on follow

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May 8, 2013

Poco Lonche

Here is Stu, hunting up a little shade and a rest at lunchtime.  The heifers behind are inspecting where we fixed the fence they have been using to cummute between pastures.

We had a long ride yesterday down south, tying up loose ends in preparation for another big day Thursday when we will sort out more cattle to ship and trail them North.  We cleared the West Chico Pasture, Sorted pairs out of the Chico trap, fixed some Fence and moved a

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May 8, 2013

The Cavalry

The last week and a half, we’ve had two guests visiting, Hans and Alex.  This is Hans third time on the Chico and Alex’s second.  With all the shifting and shipping of cattle, there’s been a lot of riding and long rides at that.  Luckily for us though, Hans and Alex have been able to step right in and help out.  I don’t think the cavalry usually had the ability to call in more cavalry, but that’s what this feels

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May 3, 2013

First Owlet of the Season

A Great Horned Owl nestling poked its head out of a tree cavity for the first time on May 3rd.  Always popular with school groups and protected from potential predators by the tree nest.

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May 2, 2013


With only a few snow showers this spring adding up to at most a few tenths of precipitation, we’ve entered into a new phase of reevaluating and then implementing.  Today we continued our work of bringing in dry cows yet to calve to sell next week and aggregating our cow/calf pairs into our pastures with sub-irrigation.  It’s not ideal, but it’s pretty easy to see from the picture above it’s the only place with green grass.

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