ANIMAL CARE ~~~ RANCH PROBLEMS

 
At Dickinson Cattle Company of Barnesville, Ohio the ranch hands are all family, except two good hands.  Part of running a 1200 head cattle ranch is training the next generation to move on with the herd ~~ keep caring for the animals and improve on techniques with every generation.
 
The famous general manager of the King Ranch, Leonard Stiles said, "Spring branding is not just to prevent cattle rustlers, but, more important, to train the younger generation how to brand correctly."
 
Nicole, age 15, and 5 foot eight and a half inches tall is known for her serious basket ball vigor.  She hustles, sweats and fights to help her team win.  Her numerous baskets have been game changers even though she is one of the youngest on the high school team. This summer she is training to be a cattle wrangler, pasture inventory keeper, data computer collector, etc.  One of her jobs is checking pastures ~~ making sure the new families are doing what they are supposed to be doing. Follow from a safe distance and watch this next generation ranch gal do the herd.Nicole
 
  Nicole in the calving pasture.  The men have indicated a problem.  They have searched the pasture from corner to corner and one calf is missing.  It could be coyotes, modern day thieves, black buzzards or local domestic dogs that roam the country for fun, food, sport and frolic. There is a problem when any calf is not home for supper.
 
The errant mother is Naught Pine.  Her calf was born yesterday, weighed, photographed and computer recorded by pedigree and name.  Naughty PineHe is black and white spotted and sired by Over Kill (most of his calves are black spotted with long legs)  The nervous mother has a full udder and badly needs help in this area of pressure relief.  She has a worried look on her face.  She is walking the 150 acre pasture and no calf can be found.  New born calves can not go hungry very long without effecting their health.
 
Nicole rechecks the pasture where the ranch hands have already checked.....nothing.  Obviously, dead or alive, if the calf was in the pasture, his mother would know where.  Four pastures join in four directions.  Nicole searches each pasture for a city block deep into the joining pastures.  The Ohio grass is one to two feet tall which doesn't help. 
 

Calf Found   
After a dedicated search there appears a small white spot just slightly visible from the grass in the pasture to the north. Nicole wakes him up, shakes him out of the grassy bed and  tries to point him toward the pasture where his mother is.

 
Calf Mad 
The startled little fellow defends himself against the human aggressor and starts to head-butt Nicole in the leg.  He is no match against this hardened sports runner.  She pushes him around and down the Appalachian hill they go.  Not unlike new born animals, he fights to go the wrong way every step.
 
Calf Ducking and Dodging 
Left right, left right!  Sorry, here is a trained basket ball gal who plays the court. There is no getting away -- she knows this game.  She had a good Longhorn beef meal and the stamina to go the route -- he hasn't.
 
Tired Baby Calf 
He tries a fake play. It doesn't work.  Every idea he has to not do the right thing is not working.  His mother is about a quarter mile away over a hill and has no idea what is happening.  He is exhausted --- he lets out a loud cry for help.  The shrill loud bawl reaches the knowing ear of his mother.  From here on it will not take long.
 
Reunion
  From this point on, it is just a matter of letting nature take it's course.  The happy reunion happens and all is well.  Now, Nicole goes to the next pasture and continues to check the herd. 
 
Ranching and animal care are about families.  About out-thinking a coyote, the weather, the insects and those who would try to think for you, with no knowledge of livestock husbandry.  All is well and the next generation is preparing to do an even better job than the last. 
 
The story you have just read is true, from Dickinson Cattle Company, June 14, Barnesville, Ohio USA.


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