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Anonymous

HI Ladies and Gentlmen, I'm an author for Silhouette and the hero in my next book is the foreman on a large Texas cattle ranch. (I'm guessing several thousand acres and around three to five thousand cows)And since I don't know anything about cattle, or how things are done on a big cattle ranch, I was hoping some of you with more expeience wouldn't mind answering a few questions for me. Such as (vernacular is so important)... Do you call the animals cows or cattle?

I'm also wondering about roundups. Is this term still used? And, if so, what exactly is a roundup? I'm guessing this a term used when the animals are gathered to be sold or when they're gathered for other things such as branding, vaccines, etc. but I might be totally misusing the term. However, if that is what a roundup is, do you have more than one a year on a big ranch? And what time a year do they occur?

Are cattle still branded? If so, when is it done? When a calf is still young or when he's older? What time of year is this done. Is this a practice that would be employed on a big ranch with large numbers or cattle?

Are vaccines administered as shots with such large numbers of cattle? I'm thinking with huge numbers this could be a daunting task. But if cattle are like other livestock there are vaccines they'll need.

What about castrating with big herds? Banding? Or are other methods used?

I realize these are big questions, but I'd appreciate greatly any answers you'd be willing to share.

I've bred, raised and trained horses for years, and we raised sheep for about ten years, so I know a bit about livestock, the importance of proper feed, fresh water, proper fencing, vaccinating etc so I'll understand the basic terms--I think. But, we only had a hundred sheep and the horse herds I worked with numbered about that also, so I don't know anything about handling huge herds of animals. (And obviously, nothing about cows.) Many thanks for any light you can shed for me.

[email protected]
 
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Anonymous

Hey! So many questions, so little time...lol!

I'll try to remember some of your questions. A group of bovines are called "cattle". Cows = females who have had a calf (no longer virgins). Steers = Castrated Bulls. Bulls = males with all their reproductive parts. Heifers = young females, not yet calved yet.

Roundups depend on the person's ranching operation. Generally, cattle are worked at early calf vaccinations, branding (usually 4-12 months old)...branding required before animal can be registered...usually only register purebreeds with the appropriate association. Generally, cattle are de-wormed 2X a year, spring and fall with either an injection or a pour-on (back, topline) equivalent. Otherwise, an animal is "worked" anytime you suspect an illness, injury, or disease process.

Some vaccinations only done by Vet--e.g., brucellosis (with Vet's certification) or rabies. Others (depends on the drug) usually can be done by the person that "works" the cattle.

Whether you have 10 acres and 1 bovine or 10,000 acres and a 1,000 bovines, they all need to be "worked" at the appropriate time to reduces chances of illness, disease, or death.

We raise registered Texas Longhorns. We work our stock every 2-3 months minimum (some every 1-2 months), including getting weights and measuring horn length (tip to tip; and, total horn around the curvature of the horn).

If you're set up to work the cattle (proper corrals, chutes, etc.) it is not that big of a deal--just need one or two people that know what they are doing.

Hope this helps! Good luck with your project!
 
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Anonymous

> I'll try to remember some of your
> questions. A group of bovines are
> called "cattle". Cows =
> females who have had a calf (no
> longer virgins).
> Heifers = young females, not yet
> calved yet.

Um...a heifer has not yet calved, but is not necessarily (and usually isn't) a virgin. In order to calve (and thus become cows), they have to be bred, which requires that they participate in sexual type activities, thus degrading their moral status to that of the deflowered.

branding (usually
> 4-12 months old)...branding
> required before animal can be
> registered...

Um...not true. Branding is not done in many places of the United States. I have registered a good number of cattle with no brands at all.

> Whether you have 10 acres and 1
> bovine or 10,000 acres and a 1,000
> bovines, they all need to be
> "worked" at the
> appropriate time to reduces
> chances of illness, disease, or
> death.

I think it would depend on the operation. Cost of working cattle vs. cost of illness, disease, injury. I dunno anyone with 3-5 thousand cows. That's why I didn't answer the question.

> We raise registered Texas
> Longhorns. We work our stock every
> 2-3 months minimum (some every 1-2
> months), including getting weights
> and measuring horn length (tip to
> tip; and, total horn around the
> curvature of the horn).

How many do you have? What you do with yours and what I do with mine, can be substantially different than what someone with 3-5 thousand would do. I doubt anyone with that many head would want to measure horns. I ear tag all mine. Again, I doubt anyone with that many would bother with that. Health concerns are always concerns, but what concerns me may not concern such a large producer. What concerns him, might not concern me.

For research, I would find a ranch similar to your imaginary one and see if they will help you. Reasearching cattle related periodicals would probably be a help also. These publications will often do articles on larger operations and much information can be gleaned from them. The United States is a big country. There are many different management methods in various regions. Make sure the info you get is relevant to the region you are going to write about.
 
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Anonymous

> branding (usually

> Um...not true. Branding is not
> done in many places of the United
> States. I have registered a good
> number of cattle with no brands at
> all.

I may be mistaken, but I thought that in alot of states, especially in the west, that you needed to have them branded when they are sold. Or is it just if they cross state lines? I could be totally wrong about that though, since it is not required in MN I have never had to deal with it.

Also, (for the author) you will want to keep in mind what area of Texas you are in when you decide how many cows and how many acres the ranch is. I think some parts of Texas you can get by with just over an acre/hd, and in others it may take around 20 acres/hd. Again, I could be wrong, but that's okay because I am used to it.
 
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Anonymous

Although a brand inspector is at every sale in CA, a brand is not required. For that matter, a brand is rarely used there. Branding, except for those breeds that require it, is strictly a means of identification ownership. Location of the brand, ear notches and the brand itself make up the identification of the owners. Our brand was right rib, no ear notch. A brand is registered in and the rules of branding are governed by the state. I don't recall but it seems like it was good for 3 or 5 years and had to renewed each time.

dun

> I may be mistaken, but I thought
> that in alot of states, especially
> in the west, that you needed to
> have them branded when they are
> sold. Or is it just if they cross
> state lines? I could be totally
> wrong about that though, since it
> is not required in MN I have never
> had to deal with it.

> Also, (for the author) you will
> want to keep in mind what area of
> Texas you are in when you decide
> how many cows and how many acres
> the ranch is. I think some parts
> of Texas you can get by with just
> over an acre/hd, and in others it
> may take around 20 acres/hd.
> Again, I could be wrong, but
> that's okay because I am used to
> it.
 
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Anonymous

>Ok Jena...thanks for additional input. Guess I was trying to generalize (bad technique) and simplify things...lol. Agree...any female animal that has had sex is no longer a virgin, even if she didn't produce any offspring.

My generalization about up to 10,000 head was just that.... Think the largest Longhorn herd around is about 1,500???

On a sidebar...there are parts of SW Texas that might require 300 to 500 acres for "range roaming" cattle due to the harsh, semi-desert environment there with 5-10" of natural rainfall annually. On other hand, more "lush" parts of Texas might only require 1 acre per head. At our location in Texas Panhandle, we will probably ultimately run about one 1000# equivalent head per acre (average rainfall about 22-25" a year with bermuda pasture); however, we do a lot of supplemental hay feeding and other stuff and do pasture rotation--with plans to activate our new irrigation system on about 5 acres for small pen, sub-pasture rotation/holding areas this spring. We are primarily into running foundation stock and breeding, thus higher per head cost, but trying to tailor feeding to each's needs.

In sum, every breeder and operation has different programs, space, set-ups, pasture & feeding capability, etc. Would guess that NO two operations are alike, yet any number might be "similar" across all people's operations. Can't compare apples to peanuts. And, very true...a rancher with 10 head can do a lot more intensive measuring, weighing, etc., than one with 500 or 1,000 head. If one loses ONE out of a herd of 250, probably no big financial loss...yet, if you lose ONE out of herd of 10 it could hurt a lot more. :)
 
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Anonymous

> many, many thanks for everyone's answers. And, of course, I understand every operation is different. I raised warmbloods for dressage competition, five mares in my own herd, but worked on a saddlebred farm raising horses for saddlebred shows--and they had a hundred horses. totally different scenarios. So...I know I'll have to adjust things to my story. The problem was since I didn't know anything about the business I didn't know how to make the questions more specific. But you're all helping me get a better idea. Such as, where might I go to find out what I need to know about branding in Texas? Someone mentioned a brand inspector. What, not doubt, government agency does this guy work for? Or does he work for the breed associations? Someone mentioned that branding was part of registration. I understand that registration would be important for animals intended to be used as breeding stock. But what about for animals meant to be sent to feed lots and packing companies? Do these animals have to be registered? If not with a breed association, (since I imagine some or perhaps many of these animals are cross breeds) must they be registered with some other agency? To prove ownership perhaps? Once again many thanks for everyone's help.

[email protected]
 
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Anonymous

Registration is not required. The state Dept. of Ag should be able to help with the brand qustions.

dun
 
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