Do you count noses....

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DL

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This topic has been on my mind since I read something (more about that later) and it sort of morphed from knabes comments - I always count heads - at least twice a day I make sure everybody is where they belong - and everyone I talked to over the past few days does too. In fact when I had African cichlids I counted fish as well.

A recent story in the "Perfect Horse" (I am paraphrasing here) about a guy who got a wonderful and great and special horse - he and his wife would go out and ride - horses were kept at his son and daughter in laws - there was a storm - apparently they are all busy and basically didn't look for these horses for 3 or 4 days when they discovered the "wonderful and great and special horse" was dead in the road - hit by car and had 2 broken legs

apart from the obvious welfare issues of leaving a horse suffering in the road after being hit by a vehicle, the "Perfect Horse" has printed articles on how good duct tape is to fix things and how to recycle baler twine - I guess I was appalled at the apparent lack of interest/concern on the part of the owners but also the fact that this magazine that purports to be promoting things good for the horse has ignored the need to teach stockmanship in favor of the inane and unctuous

so the question is when you go out to do chores - what do you do? do you count? do you scan? how to you satisfy yourself that all is well in your personal kingdom?

 

NHR

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Rice TX
I usually try to count 3 times per day. I count in the morning, my wife counts when they come up for water during the day, and I count again before nightfall. Makes me sleep better. Of course i am obsesseive with counting and count the kids, dogs, cats, and tropical fish also.
 

red

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LaRue, Ohio
I count & check several times a day. In the summer, I always make a point to give the cows water in the afternoon. Gives me a chance to observe them to check for heats. The hubby generally feeds them in the morning & I do the night chores. We both talk to each other if something is off. Right now one of my heifers has scours really bad so I'm checking her temp twice a day. I feel that by watching them closely I can catch something wrong faster. I usually can tell w/ my girls if anything is off almost before it happens.
Also at night, if I hear any unusual mooing or dog barking I will get up & check. This has saved us a lot of problems & possible heartache. It has to be me because once the hubby takes of his braces at night, he's down for the night.
The boys check the farm cows at least once a day. They're not as careful as I am but they still watch the cows/bulls daily.

Red
 

knabe

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Hollister, CA
every day, and check feet.  one of the heifers ripped off her dew claw the other day.

and in the midst of checking every day, i had a mysterious toe nail appear on the lawn the other day placed there by my dog in the avatar.  it wasn't one of the chew ones.  i had been checking the heifers feet, and they all look normal.  is it possible that cattle slough hooves when they get an injury?  since i pick up the heifers feet somewhat routinely, they all look fine.
 

SKF

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We do a head count at least once a day try to do it twice a day.
 

justintime

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I would love the luxury of counting noses every day or like some of you have said, a few times a day. That is simply not possible for me as we have 7 breeding pastures that are all within 10 miles of my home, but they are in 4 different directions, and a little over 2000 acres.  We have two pastures of 400 acres right at home from which we manage our ET and AI . We also keep about 80 of the cows with the better calves in these pastures so we can keep a closer eye on them  and make sure they are developing properly. It takes me a little over 1/2 a day to do a complete pasture check , so my cows are lucky if they get counted twice a month. In fact, if you were to ask me how many head of cattle I had, I would probably have to make a " guesstimite" as I would have to add them all up from my record book that is carried in my truck at all times. The problem is we have 3 trucks we use so sometimes I get to a pasture and realize the book is in another truck.
I find it quite amazing how good one gets at knowing when something is missing. A person's eye gets good at scanning a large group and noticing a cow with footrot or a calf with pinkeye etc. Over the years we have lost very very few cattle on pasture, and we have been fortunate in not having many health issues in the pastures as well.
Usually when I am asked how many cattle I have, I am pleased if my estimate is within 20 head of the actual number.
 

Show Heifer

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After a storm, I do MORE than check noses, I take a clipboard out with every cow and calf number on it. I see each animal, check eyes, feet, general health, then I check them off the list. If a storm hits four days in a row, I check them every day.
But on a day to day bases (after all calves are born and several weeks old) I check them off the clip board at least 4 times a week. If I am really busy, maybe 3 times. But never less than 3 times per week.

If a neighbor is having health issues I do it more often.

Counting to me is well....if-y.  Did I count THAT black cow, or THAT one? What about the calf? Did I count him twice? Get my point.  A clipboard and list is the only way to go. That way, EVERY SINGLE cow, calf, and bull is checked off.
(I hate to admit, but I learned this habit from an ex-boyfriend - only good thing I got out of THAT deal!!!  ;D)
I also can note if a cow is in heat....etc.....love my clipboard!!! (clapping)
 

pigguy

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kansas
justintime said:
I would love the luxury of counting noses every day or like some of you have said, a few times a day. That is simply not possible for me as we have 7 breeding pastures that are all within 10 miles of my home, but they are in 4 different directions, and a little over 2000 acres.  We have two pastures of 400 acres right at home from which we manage our ET and AI . We also keep about 80 of the cows with the better calves in these pastures so we can keep a closer eye on them  and make sure they are developing properly. It takes me a little over 1/2 a day to do a complete pasture check , so my cows are lucky if they get counted twice a month. In fact, if you were to ask me how many head of cattle I had, I would probably have to make a " guesstimite" as I would have to add them all up from my record book that is carried in my truck at all times. The problem is we have 3 trucks we use so sometimes I get to a pasture and realize the book is in another truck.
I find it quite amazing how good one gets at knowing when something is missing. A person's eye gets good at scanning a large group and noticing a cow with footrot or a calf with pinkeye etc. Over the years we have lost very very few cattle on pasture, and we have been fortunate in not having many health issues in the pastures as well.
Usually when I am asked how many cattle I have, I am pleased if my estimate is within 20 head of the actual number.
same wiith us we are lucky to get a head count when we move from one pasture tot he next(not ery often. but we drive through them almost every day but we usually dont even see half of them
 

DL

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JIT - I wish I had the luxury of 2000 acres! ;D

Things are different "on the range" (they don't call it the wild west for nothing) but I think you are right - you scan pastures and you have a sight picture in your head and when it isn't quite right you know something is wrong - if you listen to the cows they tell you - I count because I am paranoid and a control freak  ;D ;D if I had 2000 acres it would probably push me over the edge.....

It is easy with rotational grazing - they follow you and you know that everyone is there and eating. Since this August we have no pasture we are feeding hay and the same thing happens but I have to work harder!

I had a calf killed by lightening and in another life a friend killed by lightening in a barn (he had the misfortune to be sitting on a metal folding chair and the pipes to the water tank were about 2 inches below - the lightening blew out the water tank and the back of the barn and followed the pipes) - I count everything after lightening storms including barn cats, relatives, and fencers!

I think part of good stockmanship is knowing your animals and how they are in their environment - I can't imagine having a small number of horses on small amount of land and not making sure they were all alive and well at least 2 times per day - if I had 1000 plus horses on the range that would be different.....


 

justintime

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Just to clarify things somewhat.... 2000 acres here is probably equivalent to less than 100 acres  in some places. I lease one pasture that is 640 acres and I am allowed to put about 30 cow/calf pairs on it each year. It is native grass and there is not 1 tree on it. The fence posts are the only shade. Some of these native grasses never get more than 6 inches high and they turn brown by late July. There is nothing that will put fat on calves like this grass, as the cows and calves come off it in the fall as fat as if they had been fed show ration for months. Land prices here are probably as low here as anywhere and I think many of you would never believe me if I told you what land brings. A 2000 acre farm here is a smaller farm. Many grain farmers have 5000 to 8000 acres in crop and there are many much larger than that. A farmer who lives about 30 miles from here has 26000 acres in crop and still has time to run about 200 purebred Simmentals.
 

DL

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However, JIT, on this planet YOU ARE THE MAN! ;D
 

Jill

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Wow, that is different.  We run 1 pair for every 2 acres, 600 acres where I live is an enormous piece of ground. 
We do count once a day when we feed and watch them walk and look for problems as they are coming up.  During breeding season we check the pasture 3 times a day with a list.
 

chambero

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We run a cow on about 10-12 acres.  Most of our pastures are treeless also.  My father-in-law has fought mesquites his whole life.  We have a couple of pastures that do have trees along drainages and we rotate to them during early calving when its hot.  We run a little over 3K acres scattered between 13 individual pastures.  We are also a relatively small operator for our area.  There are multiple 10-15K acre places.  Cows get checked once a day from the start of calving till spring when we quit daily feeding.  They might go two days between visits during late spring through mid-August. 

They still have to be cows and take care of theirselves for the most part.  Heifers are a different story.  They come to town next week and will get checked every couple of hours around the clock until they are mostly calved out (mid to late Oct).  We have a team of guys that help us though.
 
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