What Makes a Good Cow?
by Charlotte Johnson on November 11, 2011

Many of my friends and colleagues know me as the ‘Cow’ girl, I am very passionate about cows…although in the past couple days I have questioned that passion (bad cows)!  For the past couple of weeks we have been hauling cows home from their summer pastures and today was the last haul.  This pasture is a little more secluded than the rest and the handling facilities are not the best to get most cows into.  Therefore we only send the ‘Good’ cows!

So what makes a good cow?

I think every ranch has their check list that cows must pass in order to stay in the herd, but what sets that good cow apart from the herd.  Well for me personally its trust, respect, loyal and of course performance!  Human traits in a cow you might ask?  Let me break them down for you:

  • · Trust – she must trust that I am not going to hurt her calf and not try to kill me while I am tagging and vaccinating her newest offspring.
  • · Respect – she must respect my space when we are in close proximity of each other, I don’t appreciate having to jump the fence to get out of her way.
  • · Loyal – she must always remember that I am her loyal friend, I provide her the best quality feed, clean water and nice bed of straw in the winter and lush grass in the summer so I only ask that she comes when I call and doesn’t try to deek me.
  • · Performance – she must reward me for all the work and effort I put into her optimal care with excellent performance by raising a darn good calf, staying healthy and rebreeding for the next year.

These might sound like simple traits, but let me tell you there are a lot of cows out there that are NOT good and we have a few in our herd.  It all starts with our heifer selection.  We look for heifers that are starting to exhibit these traits and nurture them through the winter.  In order to make the initial heifer pen those young girls also have some criteria to pass:

  • · birthweight under 100lbs
  • · proven dam/sire

Going back to earlier today, I was so proud of my nice group of ‘good’ cows…except for one!  The ‘good’ ones followed us right into the corrals for their grain (candy), including the one exception.  She just sent us on a wild goose chase for a couple days, but she’s home now.

Next up is weaning time and fall markets!

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