Category Archives for // RANCH

about RANCH

Cattle ranching lies at the core of who we are. We work every day to preserve our ranching heritage and traditions by living them, while simultaneously embracing new ways of thinking.

January 6, 2011

Cake-training Bison

Well, we survived the holidays and are back into the routine.  As you may have read, our bison are turned out into the pivot, an irrigated pasture just north of the lodge.  Our focus right now is teaching them to eat cake (a protein/mineral pellet) and to follow the cake truck.  We started by driving right towards the main herd, letting out a really loud “whooooooo” and then start feeding.  We have a person or two on horseback that can

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December 20, 2010


The 400 buffalo females in the pen were a sight to see last week, unearthly almost.

These are the animals that are now grazing on the Zapata as livestock.  We will use them just as we do cattle, as a tool to manipulate the surface of the ground to achieve the conservation goals we want. We’ll treat them just as if they were cattle.

We will move them in the pasture rotation, doctor them when they need nursing. We will make sure

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November 19, 2010

Finalizing Bison Roundup

As Asta said, we finalized the big bison round up and processing last Saturday night.  It was a very intense three weeks.  There were many emotional ups and downs due to the unsure nature of gathering and working bison.  This herd in particular is very unpredictable because they live in a large area of about 50,000 acres and only get handled this one time during the year.

After being outrun by several small herds the first morning, our spirits were down as the first slight sign of failure presented

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October 21, 2010

Counting Down to Bison Works

I am now counting down the days to the beginning of the fall bison work.  We will start gathering next Wednesday and continue for ten days or so and then spend a week working them through the chutes.  We have a complex schedule of friends and neighbors coming to help, meals being provided by Mike, our chef, shipping dates for our sale animals, processing dates for private treaty sales, and many more details.  Preparation is very intense right now because when we start,

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September 30, 2010


My week started out with fixing gates, adjusting hinges, fixing broken corral poles, and overall getting ready to ship cattle.  The yearlings we received the last day of February are all gone as of yesterday.  Tuesday started out with finishing the fixing of the corrals and then filling them with 979 yearling heifers.  Asta and I spent several hours with the brand inspector counting and looking at the brands on every heifer.  Later that afternoon we turned them all back out to fill

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September 8, 2010


Among many other things, we have been getting a few days of cattle work in lately.  On September 1st we pulled the bulls out of the cow herd which had been in for 75 days.  We have about 130 heifers also in with the cow herd and are hopeful that they are bred up when we preg test them later this fall.  The bull to cow ratio we use is 1:25 or sometimes 1:30 bull to mature cows.  With heifers

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August 18, 2010

Doctoring Cattle

There’s still a little bit of summer left here but before we know it it’ll be fall.  We’ve been doctoring for foot rots lately, a bacteria the cattle get in any wound on the hoof caused from the abrasive sand.  We are riding through the cattle once or twice a week and rope any heifers we see that are limping.  Other than that the cattle are in great shape and the grass in the pastures is very good thanks to the rain we got in the

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August 9, 2010

Training Cattle

A large part of last week was spent building temporary electric fence and moving the yearlings every couple of days.  The reason for the relatively small paddocks and short grazing periods is to be able to concentrate the cattle and force them to eat overgrown areas.  This stimulates new growth and provides fresh habitat for migrating birds, elk, and bugs which are an important food source for birds.  My favorite part of this project is calling the cattle into the

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July 30, 2010

Moving Yearlings

Last Monday, we took the 1000 head of yearlings from the Break Tree Pasture to the lakes.  It was an all day drive across many miles of sand hills and finally arrived at the lush, green, wet pasture which was our destination.  Along the way the cattle were stretched out sometimes close to a mile long, a line of walking animals that went up and down hills with riders along each side.  Five guests were there to help including Scott

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September 9, 2009

Branding Big Calves

We had an extra special treat last Friday. We got to brand 30 head of calves that were left over from our annual spring branding. As you all know, branding is my favorite event with cattle work. Because the calves were bigger than in the spring we headed and heeled them. I had a good day of roping but I had more fun helping everyone on the ground. Here is a snapshot of what that looks like. Feebe is taking pictures,

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