Our fold is raised on roughly two acres of pasture that has been split into paddocks to help with rotational grazing. We utilize grass hay to supplement when pasture grass cannot keep up. They always have access to fresh water and a loose mineral supplement. The cattle are checked at least twice daily. This helps us make sure appropriate care is provided as well as acclimate them to human interaction. We often can't go out in the pasture without them coming to us to check out what we are doing. This frequent interaction also helps reduce stress when we have to work with them. That could be moving them with a halter, putting them in the headgate, moving paddocks, or loading them in the trailer. One of our number one goals with our cattle is that they are exposed to many different situations. This makes them easier to work with for not only us but our veterinarian and future owners.
Cows ready to calve are moved to the barn to be monitored. This also helps us step in to assist if needed. However, this does not always go as planned. Mothers and their calves are moved to the barn if calving occurs in the pasture. This again helps us monitor both mama and baby to make sure everyone gets a good start. Healthy calves return to the fold with their mothers as soon as possible though.
Calves are weaned at 6-8 months. We utilize fenceline weaning to continue with our low-stress method. This allows calves to continue to stay in a familiar environment and slowly adapt to separation.
We have worked closely with our local veterinarian and the University of Illinois to follow best practices with vaccinations and parasite management. Our adult cattle are annually vaccinated and treated every six months for worms and lice. Our calves are vaccinated shortly after being born and given another set after 12 weeks.
Detailed records of our cattle are logged on our livestock program. These records help us track the care of each animal and provide records for future customers.