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.

October 8, 2012

Fall Works

Fall cattle works.  What can I say.  Today, as we moved the summer’s calves and their mommas, I thought about the long dry summer, the long cold winter ahead. The calves sought their mothers, the mothers complacently moving along with the minimal amount of energy useage, grazing, generally making it difficult for us to move the entire 1000 head herd (mothers and calves).  Another season behind us, the period of retreat to think and plan, ahead.  I love fall, and

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September 28, 2012

Fall works begins

We started into our fall works by weaning the calves from our 1st calf heifers and preg checking them along with the yearling Beefmaster heifers.  It was a busy week with lots of team work and coordinating, good training for a bigger week to come when we wean and check the big commercial herds.

Above Amy and our newest intern Kathryn hold the back while Allen is doing his best Musketeer impression.

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September 22, 2012

Like Mother Like Daughter

I took this shot after we moved the Sand herd yesterday morning, a very pretty sight of a Beefmaster cross heifer calf.  The green they are grazing on is Kochia weeds.  Last weeks rain was not enough to change our fortunes, but it did green up the weeds and make them palatable again.  Keeping the cattle moving so that they can take advantage of what little green feed we have had has kept the cattle in good shape in spite

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September 6, 2012

End of breeding season

We’ve been pulling bulls out of all the herds this week and last, and trailing them to a pasture we call the Back Pocket. The length of breeding season determines the length of calving season, determines the uniformity of calf crop and the fertility of mother cows. Most of our bulls are destined for slaughter; only the youngest will linger for another breeding season.

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August 30, 2012

Pipeline Project

Stuart, now heading up our summer pipeline project, is an incredible planner. Week after week, working in the bright yellows and greys of excel shading, he produces pipeline project plans, coordinating himself, a crew of interns, and Amy and I to help bring this project to fruition. The trick, I think, is to plan in for unexpected delays.

We are installing large stock tanks and miles of pipeline– our goal is to enable more cattle to spread out more evenly across pastures

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November 29, 2011

2nd Annual Kenturkey Derby

For Thanksgiving Tess and I headed to the Chico to be with her family and my family who drove in from Texas, Arizona and Denver. It was a blast and the highlight was our second annual kenturkey derby.

Everyone dressed up in funny clothes and hats for the derby, we made special derby cocktails and had ourselves a race. The race was 50 yards around a tree and back, but everyone rode bareback which made it challenging. People were bouncing around,

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August 30, 2011

Land Monitoring Workshop

Last week Charley Orchard from Land EKG came out to our sister ranch, Chico Basin, to teach a workshop on monitoring land health.

Charley’s system is recognized by most major agencies like the BLM and Forest Service as an acceptable, accurate and reputable method for measuring land health. Land EKG is comparable to a regular EKG, the machine they hook you up to in a hospital to monitor your heart and make sure you don’t flat-line (i.e. die), and is a system that

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February 9, 2011


Yesterday morning we went on a feed and ice run at the Chico. We went all around the north pasture breaking ice with axes and unloading bales of hay. We broke the ice as Michael and Allen talked about on the Chico blog so the cattle can get through to the water at the tanks in their pastures.

There was a lead steer with this particular bunch that helps the new cattle get used to feed trucks, moving in to new

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