How do you catch them all?

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Bigfoot

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In my life, I have never been able to catch every cow, calf, and bull on my place at the same time. That is a feat that I have truely never accomplished. I've put an honest effort in it many times. Just can't do it. I calve about 10 months out of the year, so I have calves on the ground from 5 days old to 8 months old.

Some odd hang up on here, about posting numbers, so I usually avoid it. Guess I'll have to spill the beans. As of today, I have 84 cows, 51 or 52 calves on the ground, 3 bulls, and 9 short bred heifers.

I need to do some weaning, some sorting, and some culling. I've tried all week, to catch as many as I can at once. Kinda successful, and kinda not.

My approach:
I put 50 pounds of feed in the catching pen. Do it everyday, for a few days. Just pour in my troughs, and go on like nothing is going on. They get wise, and start coming. After 3 or 4 days of that, I'll put out 50 pounds of feed, and scatter 2 bales of alfalfa hay (that holds in there longer). This whole process, will go on for a week or more. I eventually build up to getting 75% (or a little more) in my catching pen all at once. The 25% or so I don't get is enough to discombobulate the whole thing. I don't have a calf, that goes to a certain cow, or vice versa. I end up with about half what I need to be successful.

Starting tomorrow, I'm going to go back to my triedand true method. Keeping mineral in the catching pen, and nabbing the ones I can, as I can. This process will take til fall.

I also have the ability to catch any animal, at any time, with a horse. I'll end up resorting to that on a few. I don't like it, but it happens.

At the risk of sounding dumb, how do you people catch the entire herd at one time? I just don't seem to have the skill set to do it.
 

kenny thomas

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I have a system of several pens so I keep moving them back into another pen as they come in. If I catch either the cow or the calf I leave it up and within a little while the match to it will come into the first pen trying to get to it in the second pen. I fixed it so they have to enter the first pen to get close to its match in the second or third pen. A cow with no calf or a calf with no cow might ruin the plan.
 

kenny thomas

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May seem excessive but I have a series of 7 pens before they get to the sweep tub. Makes working cattle by myself easy. Took a while to design and was expensive but sure works good.
 

bird dog

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I rotate my herd every 5 to 7 days so they get used to moving to better grass. One paddock funnels into the pens. Only problem is they won't be back to that paddock for around 45 days so if you need to catch one, well it ain't easy.
 
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Bigfoot

Bigfoot

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kenny thomas":c424syqv said:
I have a system of several pens so I keep moving them back into another pen as they come in. If I catch either the cow or the calf I leave it up and within a little while the match to it will come into the first pen trying to get to it in the second pen. I fixed it so they have to enter the first pen to get close to its match in the second or third pen. A cow with no calf or a calf with no cow might ruin the plan.

My set up,is definitely part of my problem. My actual catching/working pen, would hold the entire herd. It would be a little tight, but it could be done. The pen itself, would hold anything. It's 7 feet tall. I have 2 "pens" leading to that. They are probably the weak spot in the plane. They are just barbed wire fences, with 2 strands of electric. Maintaining 75% of the herd, in a small space, till I get the other 25% is probably where I fail. Plus, just about any time I put pressure on them in the barbed wire part of my catching system, one or more will crash it.

Patience, and perhaps common sense, are probably what's stopping me. I'm also too tight to build what would get the job done efficiently. my actual working pen, is adaquet to hold just about anything.

What I need to accomplish sounds simple. Wean about 30 calves, and cull about 10 cows for various issues. Be sweet, to do that in one big swoop. It's not going to happen. I will gobble up a bunch of time doing it my way.
 

kenny thomas

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Can't remember his name but one member from maybe Wisconsin had his paddocks fixed so every time they changed the cattle had to go through the working alley. He said after a while it was real easy because they always thought going into the chute meant fresh grass.
 

True Grit Farms

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I have my water source in a catch pen, and feed in a sorting pen. I also built a feed trailer that I pull behind the Kubota and the cows and calves will follow anywhere that I want them to go. I contribute our ease of handling to calm cattle and rotational grazing. We've never had a problem catching all the cows yet. No dogs, no horses and no cowboy's is the way it's always been here. In Florida we used 4 or 5 dogs, 6 cowboy's, and 3 hired hands to work 2 -3 hundred pairs a day, and rarely did one ever escaped getting worked.
 
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Bigfoot

Bigfoot

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Also, not all of my pastures join my true working pens. I have 3 what I call traps scattered around my farm. Small, but sturdy built pens, with no head catcher or squeeze. Worst case scenerio, I can catch something, and wean it at any time. I can also haul something that needs doctored to my working pen. If it's small enough, or gentle enough, I can do many things in those pens.
 

True Grit Farms

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Bigfoot":2mckxe91 said:
kenny thomas":2mckxe91 said:
I have a system of several pens so I keep moving them back into another pen as they come in. If I catch either the cow or the calf I leave it up and within a little while the match to it will come into the first pen trying to get to it in the second pen. I fixed it so they have to enter the first pen to get close to its match in the second or third pen. A cow with no calf or a calf with no cow might ruin the plan.

My set up,is definitely part of my problem. My actual catching/working pen, would hold the entire herd. It would be a little tight, but it could be done. The pen itself, would hold anything. It's 7 feet tall. I have 2 "pens" leading to that. They are probably the weak spot in the plane. They are just barbed wire fences, with 2 strands of electric. Maintaining 75% of the herd, in a small space, till I get the other 25% is probably where I fail. Plus, just about any time I put pressure on them in the barbed wire part of my catching system, one or more will crash it.

Patience, and perhaps common sense, are probably what's stopping me. I'm also too tight to build what would get the job done efficiently. my actual working pen, is adaquet to hold just about anything.

What I need to accomplish sounds simple. Wean about 30 calves, and cull about 10 cows for various issues. Be sweet, to do that in one big swoop. It's not going to happen. I will gobble up a bunch of time doing it my way.

You need a bigger catch pen Bigfoot. The timid, flighty cows and calves don't want to be bunched up. And they will cause all kinds of problems.
 

Aaron

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Herefords. Come like dogs when called. Ones who don't, find themselves on a hook real quick. I've got a few foxy girls who test my patience occasionally and one of these times my temper will blow and they'll go for a ride.
 
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Bigfoot

Bigfoot

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I had a nice response typed to several of these post, and it flew away somewhere. Moral of the story, I could use both better, and bigger facilities.

I come, and go on what to do. Current thought process is cut down to 40 cows, and 1 bull. Even when I'm at that number, I can't pull off the elusive whole herd catch though.
 

dun

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Bucket trained or start rotating pastures regularly. When they get sued to moving frequently you'll have to get out of the way to keep them from running you over as they go to where you are. May be a couple of slow pokes but they'll get there fairly quickly.
 

wbvs58

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Spear traps, http://www.arrowfarmquip.com.au/product ... pear-trap/ are used a fair bit on some extensive property's in Australia. They fence about 5 acres around a waterhole and have these going in and going out. With no other water in the paddock all cattle get trained to go through and when they want to muster the paddock just lock up the out and wait a couple of days and all will be caught.

Ken
 

Rafter S

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How large is the pen you're trying to catch them in? I pen about 25 cows, with a bull and calves, in a wire pen that's 32 x 64. You need a pen large enough that they won't be crowded. After getting them in the trap with feed I then move them into the smaller pens and work them a few at a time.
Also, for the bunch you're talking about 50 pounds of feed isn't enough. The ones that come in first will have it all eaten up before the more timid ones come in. I usually put out 150 pounds when I'm penning mine. You should try at least 200, and maybe more.
Good luck.
 

cow pollinater

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In CA I did everything with horses and dogs. Even the rank ones would get the hint after they got choked on and chewed on a few times and it got to where I could ride through and yell a little and they'd head to the corrals and be waiting for me when I got there. When I sold out I cleaned out around two hundred pairs by gathering daily and hauling what I could and turning the rest out.
Here in OK, I don't even own a horse anymore. I AM getting back into dogs because sooner or later I'll have one that doesn't want to come and dogs can be really convincing. I put a feed bin on the back of my one ton and made my gas rig the daily driver. The only time he cows see the one ton is when they will get fed. I can gather everything on the place in half an hour or so and most of that time is opening and shutting gates. I still have to watch for calves hanging up but if you watch your cows they'll tell you where they're at and I can usually just lead the whole bunch to them and then they follow along.
 

Farm Fence Solutions

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We have a small pasture, 5 acres or so, that leads to the trap/feedlot. The 5 acre patch doesn't have any water, so once the gate is shut on them in there, they have to go in the trap to drink. The trap leads to the alleyway, which leads to sorting pens, load out, working chute, etc. I usually have a good dog to help, and used to use a horse on a daily basis. I think that good alfalfa square bales make better bait than grain or water, but that's just my opinion. You can put out enough alfalfa to hold them for a while without killing them. Seems like with corn, it's gone before the stragglers are through the gate. When I worked in SD, it was all horseback and a little bit of cake. Sometimes it'd take several days to gather a big pasture.
 

TCRanch

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When we work our cattle in spring/fall we have a crew on horses that round them up. It takes a while but they are amazing; rarely going more than a trot, communicate silently, slowly walk them to the corral. We line up the trucks/trailers with the gate opening for an "alley"; clearly not a sophisticated setup but it always works. If we're working a smaller group like bred heifers or weaned calves, we position the portable corral along the fence row and simply walk them in with a feed bucket or they'll follow me in the Polaris. Having said that, we only have 50 pair, some bred heifers, 3 bulls, couple steers and they're all very docile.
 

callmefence

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I can generally get the ones at home.
I pull out off about 70 percent of my ground during deer season. Catching the cattle and bringing them home can be quite a production.
To quote brute23 it's exactly like trapping pigs.
We cake em for a couple weeks then spring the trap. We unhook the trailer out on the road because some of them will head for the hills at the sound of a rattling trailer. Often gathering up as many calves as they can. I like a drive through trap. You drive in one gate dump the feed go out the back gate and close it . Make a big circle like your leaving. Swing back around and close the other gate on em. Missing a calf is always a concern.We always monitor them when we get em home. The wife will be out with em that evening and I go back to the pasture, sit there and listen
 

1982vett

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I rotate pastures about once a month now, but the majority of cows I have I raised or have been here long enough to know that following a bag of cubes leads to a treat and probably a new pasture. Time of day plays a part. If they have settled under the shade chewing cud in the later part of the morning they aren't as willing to go on the move. Enthusiasm of the younger raised cows to follow the bag of cubes seems to be contagious. I have 6 younger cows I bought several months ago that aren't so trusting but they do seem to know that bag has something they are interested in and they follow the rest. But I guess the main reason I don't have much trouble is the catch pens are hubs to the pastures where they always have access to and travel through them to go to different pastures. This way they don't associate the pens a place they are going to be trapped. I can get every one of them most of the time if I want them all. An exception to this is a few that aren't eager to follow if they have a newborn calf. Also, as Aaron said, problem cows don't hang around very long to be a problem.
 

bball

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Have a similar setup to Kenny I think. Have a series of pens leading into main working/loading pen. Always feed in the working pen, so cows come easy into here. Usually all of the pairs come when called, but if a few straggle or a few timid calfs are floating around outside, just lock cows in working pen and then put light pressure on the stragglers and they always end up in one of the pens leading to the pen with cows. They tend to want to stay near the herd.
 

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