I have only used the chains for calving as I think they are superior to the nylon straps. As fpr the chains losing their finish, that is when you pick up a new set in town. They aren't that expensive. I always pull with the first loop of the chain above the dewclaws about the joint and another loop below.
The threads about calving in Wyoming reminded me of a Wyoming rancher I sold a set of bull to, a few years ago. His idea of checking cows during calving was to fly his airplane over the first calf heifers every two days and the main cow herd once a week. If it looked like there were too many deads they then saddled up the horses and rode the pastures. To this rancher, calving ease and birth weight were the main issues in selecting herd sires. He probably selected his bulls out of the pen almost in opposite order to all my other bull customers. Every cattle operation is different and each person has to be smart enough to select the management that is best for their situation.
Here at our place, we normally try to AI breed as many as possible, while the cows are close to the yard, then sort them and turn the bulls out. Four years ago, we implanted 23 recips with embryos, synchronized 30 heifers and AI bred them and turned out 6 herd bulls all in one week. The next spring we had over 80 head close to calving with really no idea which one would be the next to calve. As we got close to starting to calve this group, it turned very cold and a blizzard moved in. I put 28 cows and heifers in the barn and walkd through the sheds at least once every two hours. I remember one night having 9 calves born in the shed and none in the barn. Each trip to the shed resulted in picking up one or two new borns and putting them in my calving sled, and getting them into the barn. It worked well if the cow was smart enough to follow the sled, but it was a real challenge if she turned and went back to look for her calf in the shed. I never got out of my winter clothes for 48 hours and when the storm was over, we had 37 new calves born.A few ears got touched, but we saved all the calves... and I wondered if I was going to live or not.
For the past 2 years, I have split the 5 acre pasture where my cows close to calving are, into two seperate pens with an electric wire.Feed is put in whichever pen the cows aren't in that day, and I do not let them into that pen until sundown.In the past two years I have had about 90% of our calves in daylight. I still get a few at night but if there are no signs of anything calving at 11-11:30 at night when I make my check, I go to bed and don't check until 6 am. If something looks like it is thinking of calving at the 11 pm check, I stay up and check them at 1 am. I have found that many are just born or being born at the 6 am check. This has allowed me to get some sleep during calving time.
The cows are wintered across the road in our feedlot with access to a pasture that is a mile in length. When weather permits we feed them as far from where they are bedded as we can so that they walk several miles each day. They will walk out to the feed in the morning, then walk back to water around noon, then walk back out to the feed again and stay there until close to dark. They then walk back to the bedded area to rest for the night. If it is real warm, they will continue to walk back and forth to the feed and water through the night as well. many times I have seen them walking to and from the feed in the moonlight. When we start to get close to calving time, I walk through and sort them twice a week, and move any that are showing signs of calving into the main yard. They then are switched to a feeding program that makes them eat from say... 6 pm until 11 pm. It seems that once they are full, they will then drink some water and lay down to rest for several hours. It seems that most will rest until close to morning before they start thinking about starting the birth process.