We like to think of our ranch as summer camp for cattle. We stock our pastures mid to late May and as with all new camper goers, our first priority is making them feel at home. We start off in smaller pastures, getting them use to the layout, fences, where the water is and us walking through them daily.
We follow the rule of fast growth, fast moves. That means in early season when the grass is growing fast, you will find us often moving cattle from one paddock to the next, letting the cattle have a quick graze before moving on to let that pasture rest. We use a combination of electric fencing and barb wire to create paddocks and allow us to manage where and when the cattle graze. If we have our stocking rates just right, we can keep the grass in a vegetative state, providing the highest quality of nutrition for the growing cattle with the goal of extending this highly nutritious stage long into the growing season.
The richness of an ecosystem is in it's diversity. Our pastures are a diverse mix of grass, legumes and forbs that all thrive in different soils, weathers and seasons. This means we will see some species early in the season and others not until later. This provides variety for the cattle that continues to develop throughout the season. As pasture growth begins to slow, we will slow our moves down, allowing some paddocks and species to go to seed. When the cattle come back into these pastures, their movement will knock seeds off, trample into ground and fertilize - allowing these plants to naturally reseed.
Whether its halter breaking show animals or moving grass cattle, working with animals is one of our family's favourite activities. There is nothing better then taking a group of cattle at the beginning of the season, spending time with them, gaining their trust and being able to handle them in a calm, effective manner. Cattle are always provided access to fresh water, mineral and salt, and of course, plentiful pasture. Love the sounds of a whistle & soft moos, then dropping their heads to graze