Bulls – Triumph and Tragedy

Bulls – Triumph and Tragedy

Hi I’m Mike. The bulls on the ranch have one job, and today,
well they get laid off. Its time to give them a break and get them
moving on their way to their winter home, which is usually, easier said than done on
our Wyoming life. My plan was this morning to head out early
and start sorting bulls off of the cows and their calves. The weather however had different plans and
doing it in the rain, doesn’t really sound like a whole lot of fun. But that’s ok, gives us a bit of time to
clean the shop and talk about the dirty side of the ranch. If you haven’t already, take a minute to
subscribe, we are headed into the busy season here on the ranch, in just a couple of weeks
we will be taking calves to auction and the ranch will receive its main paycheck for the
year as our calves move into the supply chain that goes from local producer to feedlots
and finshing producers and eventually to packing houses, then to your home. Before we can get that far, we have a few
housekeeping things to do, cleaning the shop wasn’t one of them, in fact the first fall
task that usually needs done here is taking the bulls off of the cows. Taking them off is a simple way of saying
that we will be removing them from the herd of breeding cattle on the ranch. This will stop any breeding that may still
be taking place and allow us to control our calving season a bit better. The bulls have been with the cows since July,
in that time, they have had just about all the fun they can, and hopefully have impregnated
the entire herd. We wont know for sure until we bring them
in next month for their ultrasounds but our usual success rate in breeding is about 92
to 95 percent. We have 5 bulls out with the cows right now,
and its time to start the process of bringing them home. However, with the current rain, we are stuck
in the shop for a bit, but that isn’t a bad thing, cause it gives me some time to
think. In the past, we have always sorted the bulls
off and walked them home, it takes a couple of days. We don’t like to walk the bulls too far
in one day and although the journey is only about 5 miles, its better to let them take
it easy. They are pretty wore out, those girls really
work them over. So over those two days, we make them walk
the five miles, then we put them on a trailer and take them to their home across the road
for the winter, that we call the bull pasture. You might ask, why we don’t just leave the
bulls in with the cows all year long? And I would tell you that its in order to
control when calves are born. That’s the main reason, if moms are only
with the dads for a couple of months of the year, then they will only have calves for
a couple of months. Then when its time to sell those calves, they
are all closer to the same weight, and bring better prices at auction, what some buyers
call an even herd. The other reason we take the bulls out of
the main herd and put them off by themselves is for our safety. You never know what a cow is thinking, and
that goes doubly so for a bull. Most of our bulls weigh right around or a
little over 1 ton, or 2000lbs, over 900 kg, or get this one, almost 150 stone. By the way, if you ever wondered, one stone
is 14 lbs and the measurement is still widely used in the UK and Ireland, mostly for human
body weight. I’m guessing a bull would much rather say
he weighs 150 stone as compared to 2000lbs, its just more slimming and looks better on
your drivers license. Alright, back to the topic, Mike. A bull can mess you up pretty quickly, and
my personal preference is to always know where they are. Mixed up in a herd, you might not see one
until hes right on top of you, sometimes literally and having them in their own pasture for winter
is a much better way to control where they are. Plus I think they kind of like it, they can
compare notes on which cows are the hottest and which ones, well might be a bit cold. With the shop cleaner, and the rain letting
up, its time to go to work. We know why we are moving the bulls out of
the breeding cow herd, but I can tell you from experience, you never know how its going
to go. We have 5 bulls to find in a herd of 150 or
so cows or so. With the weather, I’m hoping the cows are
bunched up but it doesn’t surprise me when we see cows scattered over the few thousand
acres that they call their summer pasture. The only way to get find the bulls is to get
right into the herd and since we are going to be moving the bulls toward home, the closest
ones are the easiest to move first. The first bull we find is a young red Angus
bull. This guy is 4 years old. This is his second breeding season on the
ranch, and when we have been checking bulls and cows over the summer I noticed that he
developed a bit of a limp on his front leg. I can tell you a few weeks ago, it was much
worse. And although I can’t tell you what happened
to him, I can speculate. Bulls aren’t very graceful and I have seen
a number, when they come down off of a cow after breeding, land wrong and injure, sometimes
even break their legs. Bulls also fight, that can cause injury, and
yes we do have rattle snakes. Bites have been known to cause a limp as well. The good news is, this boy seems to be getting
better and we can start moving him toward a little vacation from the girls. Along the way, we pick up a couple of other
bulls that are close buy, another red angus bull who seems agitated already and a black
angus bull. When it comes to breeds of bulls, I like red
angus bulls, they usually seem a little more laid back and easy going than the black angus,
but today, it seems like this one has something up his craw and just wants to be a pill. As we move toward the fenceline, usually the
plan is to walk bulls or cows along it. Letting the fence work for you as a barrier
to the cow, then once they figure it out, its just a matter of finding a gate to the
next pasture. As luck would have it, we have an old gate
just ahead of us, where we can push these guys through and into a separate pasture from
the girls of the ranch. I don’t think I have ever opened this gate,
and its definitely got an interesting latching system, it looks like an old lawn mover blade
has been repurposed to hold his panel closed. Kind of ingenious if you ask me, but also
holding this gate closed is some sagebrush, that has had the last few years to grow up
and through the gate. With bulls and now cows and calves coming
along with me, I better get this thing opened or give up and move to the next gate down
the line. Sagebrush has insanely deep roots, 12 feet
deep under the soil, so pulling it out is probably out of the question, but by finding
where it holding on, I can fish it back out from the panel and eventually get the gate
open. And after all the prior interest, now the
bulls are bored with me and moving on. But eventually with a little coaxing, we can
get all three of the boys through and they take off to check out their new pasture, as
their girl friends say goodbye at the fence, And we can put this gate back up and lock
it again, like the lawnmower man. I have no clue where the other two bulls are,
I do know that one is red and the other is black. And its just a matter of finding the cows
to find them. So we begin scouring the pasture, with absolutely
no luck. Mile by mile we travel from here to there
and each and every black dot, or red dot for that matter is worth a look. I’ve been through this before, searching
for hours and never finding that missing bull, and then the next day, he just shows up, so
I’m not to worried when I cant find either one. But when I travel over a hill and see a black
body in a pond, that catches my attention. I think this is our missing black bull. It looks too big to be just a cow, and although
I was just over here the day before yesterday, he wasn’t here, and this pond, didn’t
have this much water in it. This storm might have dumped more rain down
here, this pond is in a wash out area and maybe he got stuck in the mud, we have seen
it happen before and its never something you want to deal with. Here in the next few days, I will have to
come down and pull him out, and take care of him, get him buried and thank him for his
years here on the ranch… With that, its time to head home. Our missing red bull will turn up, I have
no doubt and I’m cold and wet, and for now the bulls can rest, as they start their trek
toward home. Triumph is usually followed by tragedy, or
sometimes it’s the other way around but here on the ranch, its no different. That black bulls fate really couldn’t have
been changed by anyone, and that is the risk of having cows on summer pasture and it being
so far from home. We check cows constantly, but with the vast
amount of land that it takes here in the plains of Wyoming, I’ll be honest with you, you
can’t be everywhere at once. I absolutely hate losing any animal on the
ranch, and it does affect me personally, at the same time, I know there are hundreds more
that need our help as well. But death is something that I never want to
get used to on the ranch, I’ve lost cows while in labor, I’ve had sudden cases of
bloat and yes, we have had cows drown before and we will deal with all that over and over
again. It’s a part of ranching, there’s a saying
that says if you have livestock, you will have deadstock. Doesn’t mean you have to like it. Next step for the bulls will be moving toward
home, after we find our missing red bull, who I am sure will turn up tomorrow, probably
with a big grin on his face. Thanks for subscribing, hunters at due here
today for this years antelope season, opening on the 1st and as you know we always have
a lot of fun with those guys and coming up next week will be replacing the engine in
the gator, so that should be an adventure in itself. Follow on Instagram and facebook, as we continue
to bring you along, and explore the ranch life and escape the ordinary. I’m going to go and warm up a bit, but until
I see you again, have a great week and thanks for joining us in our Wyoming life.

100 thoughts on “Bulls – Triumph and Tragedy

  1. Is "finishing producers" a euphemism for slaughter houses? – Honestly.. I'd pay to be able to just drive around for hours looking for your bulls. ๐Ÿ™‚ What is a boring chore for one person would be an interesting adventure for another.

  2. Hate you lost your bull. I always hate to lose a bull or cow anytime. Hard to believe it is already 40 degrees there. We had 71 last night for a low. Thanks for the great video.

  3. If you think about it you've gotten off easy with just one bull down but one is better than the whole lot. We had one bull break its back coming off a heifer and another step in a ditch and twist its ankle. It's been a deathly year this one with 4 calfs killed with black leg disease. Grand vid again mike

  4. We own two bulls, Belgian White Blue. They weigh in about 1200 kg's. They scare the shits out of me… These guys are the Arnold Schwarzeneggers of the cows. Sad to see a dead cow…it happens. In my 2.5 years i had to get used to it fast…because it does happen!

  5. Old tires laid out in the stock ponds help prevent cows from getting stuck in the mud and drowning. You'll need a lot of tires, but you can get them for a song all day long.

  6. Hi, Mike
    So you loss a bull hope the red bull showup. Another awesome video. Go get warm thank for sharing. Enjoy your evening ๐Ÿ˜Š

  7. Glad to hear the antelope hunters are coming in today. Good luck and have a safe hunt. Mike you should Consider going out with one of the antelope hunters and take some video of how they hunt. We are heading to the south eastern part of Wyoming in 10 days, can't get here soon enough!!!!

  8. To be honest I kind of wonder why you have a pond in the middle of the field and you don't just fill it in because something like this could happen?

  9. What are the chances that one of the 5 bulls you are looking for, out of over 200 animals, winds up drowning that very day? Sorry for the loss. I saw the comment that maybe it was a lightening strike. He was in the water too.

  10. You ever thought about automated tracking? Could give you a ton of info besides location. Let me know if you're interested…I track my Herefords but also happen to build and develop sensor's and other items. [email protected]

  11. What wouldn't give for some rain and 40 degrees. It was 101F here today and we have not had a drop of rain in over a month ๐Ÿ™

  12. I love your videos. I am an "end-user" (I live in a city), and regard your videos as a great education. Thanks for the background on "stones" as a unit of weight (actually, I have an app on my smart phone that measures (human) body weight in stones). I was very surprised to learn that a five-mile trek for the bulls took two days, since my knowledge of "cattle drives" is limited to tv.

  13. Hi there? I wish to ask you something. Can you please number those episodes? I seems I can neve see the end of one of your stories, for example, this one black dead bull and their friends? Thank you! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  14. Sorry the Ranch has lost a vital cog in the yearly production and reproduction of the Ranch! We should start a "BULL" fund to purchase chips so we all know where the BULLS are playing!

  15. Hook the chain that I know you have on the hog panel gate and tug it open. Your like losing 2 good men. Just for laughs. Good job cowboy.

  16. Recently we had the vets come in and take a look at my jersey bull cause he had some problems that we are unsure of right now.

  17. Are you going to turn that bull into compost? After you drag him out, will you try to determine what the cause of death was or are you pretty certain that he did drown?

  18. If you have livestock you'll have deadstock! Only hope you can catch it in time to save the meat! Sorry it wasn't this time. I lost two first calf heifers with prolapse uterus couple years ago. One went in the freezer, one in the compost pile.

  19. And yes it happens. And usually it is the "1" which you have very high hope's on. Genetics that you count on to advance your herd. Or a calf that as soon as it's born your pinning your fall sale on to sell as a show stock. (My case this year) I always tell people that ranching is no different than Vegas. Just takes a whole year to find out you lost. But the difference is Vegas, you go home. Ranching, you are home and there is no time to sit and pout. Others depend upon you.

  20. Mike I had a water tank 40 inches tall and had fence divider in it to seperate to pens so they could drink from both sides. Had young Brahama bull I was trying to move and he decided to jump in tank to get away. and figured if he might get himself under the bottom plank , he might be in the other pen. I tried everything I could do to get him out, But he drown , so we skined him out!!

  21. Ps. It was about 102 deg. They can fight you if they want. But it was sort of funny trying to explane to owner they his bull drown in west Texas.

  22. Anyway you look at it,it sucks to find a dead animal. And your right sometimes it doesnโ€™t matter what you do they die. Thanks Mike it shows that cattle ranching isnโ€™t all wine and roses.๐Ÿ˜Ž

  23. Hi Mike & family…. I'm Rev. Paul M Vining Sr I live in Eustis Fl. here's a sight that may be of intress to you & your wife about growing in cold weather . I know a little about growing in cold weather having grown up in Alaska…… but this man has great Ideas having proven them him self after many years of trial & error. Hope y'all get some good from this & keep the FAITH & GOOD WORK y'all… https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2016/02/11/466050766/citrus-in-the-snow-geothermal-green

  24. Sorry to see this Mike. Losing an animal is never fun, no matter how hardened you are. May he rest in peace!

  25. Yea that bull wouldn't have died if you would have fenced him out. But after all its no big deal with all the cows you have it's just a Wright off.

  26. Have you heard of GABE BROWN who farms multi culture methods?
    Gabe is in Bismarck, N. D. and has an amazing life story of transforming his farm from mono- culture to multi-culture.
    Thought you would enjoy it.


  28. I have a friend that is a wonderful young woman and Is being jailed in China for something she is not guilty of and her family needs our help to bring her home the new paper article is included here and there is a go fund me page also I will include https://www.facebook.com/1675627049/posts/10212911455215891?sfns=mo


  29. All in all no farmer wants to find a dead animal. It does happen and that is part of the life we chose. I've had someone once ask if I was worried about the lost income. Folks, if money were the major concern I'd sell the farm and do something far more profitable. This is a labor of love. Sure it's our business, but it doesn't pay enough if you don't love what you are doing. Keep on smiling Mike. Looks like you are a decent fellow and a fairly good rancher.

  30. Here is a quote for you. 'Un caballo regalado, no se mira los dientes'. Which means you never see the teeth of a horse that happened to be a gift.

  31. Sorry to hear about the loss of your bull. We have goats and have lost three bucks in one year. I appreciate your attitude. Your vlog is quickly becoming one of my favorites.

  32. Why not just wait until youโ€™re ready to move the whole herd and then separate them when you separate off the calves into a separate corral and then put them in a truck trailer to your winter pasture? Seems unnecessary to move them slowly by themselves as they would move easily along with the whole herd when rounding them up.

  33. Vast is right…….took my son to Washington state through Wyomying…..did not like that country,,,.,but sunset were goreous

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