Artificial Insemination: the practice of breeding cattle using specially selected bull semen that has been collected and frozen into straws. We AI almost all our cattle, but this is not typical, as about only five percent of beef cattle are AI-ed. If you’re interested in learning more, click here.
Bangs vaccinating: the process of inoculating animals against brucellosis. Read more here.
Blood cards: the cards we use to collect blood samples for DNA purposes. We DNA cattle to determine and verify parentage (particularly when the calf is sired by a clean-up bull) since all registered cattle have to have a pedigree and also to test for various genetic defects.
Brand: a permanent form of identification. Brands can be either traditional fire brands, using a hot branding iron, or freeze brands, using an iron cooled in liquid nitrogen. Every brand in each state is registered to a different owner, and is used to ID cattle who have lost eartags or other forms of ID.
Branding Season: the time of year when we brand calves. For most ranches, ours included, this is in the spring. We also vaccinate the calves at this time.
Breeding Season: the time of year when we AI our cattle.
Bull: an intact male bovine.
Cake: a pelleted feed supplement we feed to the cows when the grass is dry and thus less nutritious, or if we need to supplement their hay ration with more protein.
Caker: the machine on the back of the guys’ pickups that distributes the cake in the pasture.
Calf: a young/baby bovine, either male or female
Calving Season: the time of year when baby calves are being born. We calve beginning at the end of January through the beginning of May, depending on the group of cows.
Clean-up Bulls: Bulls put out with cattle that have been AI-ed to breed by natural service any cows who did not get bred AI. We also call these pasture bulls.
Colt: a young male horse.
Commercial Cattle: cattle that are not registered, ie are not purebred and/or are not papered, raised primarily for beef. Most of the cattle in America are commercial cattle.
Cow: a mature bovine animal of reproducing age
Develop: when an animal is sent to a feedyard to be developed, they are fed a special “growing ration” to help them grow more efficiently. This increases the chances that they will be successful either growing and taking care of a calf in the case of a heifer, or breeding cows in the case of a bull. Check out this article about developing replacement heifers, and this one about developing bulls if you would like more information,
Doctoring: medical treatment of sick animals.
EID (Electronic Identification) Tag: a button-like tag that has a unique 15-digit number on it. It can be scanned with a special scanner to record or get more information about an animal, and is designed to last for the animal’s lifetime. These can also be used as a unique, permanent ID option for Bangs vaccinations.
Fall Work: the season of work we do in the fall. This includes weaning, preg checking, and brining the cows in from summer pastures to get ready for calving.
Feedyard: where cattle are fed a specialized high-calorie to be grown as some of the most delicious, high-quality, and safe beef in the world. Feedyards can also be used to develop cattle, see above.
Filly: a young female horse.
Foal: a baby horse of either gender.
Gelding: castrated male horse.
Heifer: a young female bovine who has not yet had a calf. Heifers can be kept in the herd to replace cows who are leaving the herd due to age or productivity (we call these replacements or replacement heifers), or can be moved to a feedyard to be fed and raised as beef.
Mare: grown-up filly.
Natural Service: the process by which a bull naturally breeds a cow (aka the birds and the bees) aka that fun discussion you get to have with your children when you drive past a pasture and there’s a bull on top of a cow. #nature.
Pair: a calf and its mother
PAP Testing: PAP stands for Pulmonary Artery Pressure, and PAP testing helps determine the survivability of cattle at high altitudes. Because some of the divisions run cattle at upwards of 10,000 feet, we PAP test all our calves so that we can get rid of or relocate animals and bloodlines that seem to have trouble. More here!
Pasture Bulls: See “Clean-up bulls” above.
Pens/Working Pens: where we bring cattle to work/process or otherwise contain them. Otherwise known as corrals.
Preg Check: the process of determining which cows are pregnant and which are not. There are a few ways to do this, our vet comes out to ultrasound each animal so that we have approximate due dates.
Pulling a calf: sometimes cow mamas need help, just like human mamas, when we step in to help her, we call it “pulling the calf” because we literally help her push the baby out by pulling as she pushes, sort of like using suction or forceps in humans. Situations that might warrant this are when the calf is breech or upside down, when one of their legs is not coming out straight or is folded under (they should come out front feet first, like Superman), if their head is turned or just too darn big, or if the calf itself is too large. Cows can also have c-sections, but those are much more rare.
Registered Cattle: papered, purebred cattle, and what we raise. Purebred cattle are primarily raised for genetics. Read more here.
Seedstock Operation: an operation that raises breeding animals of either gender.
Semen Check: the process of determining the fertility of a bull. It’s real fun.
Siren: an actual siren (it sounds like a fire truck) that the guys all have on their pickups to call the cattle to let them know it’s cake time! They run the siren and the girls (or boys) come running.
Squeeze Chute: an implement used to immobilize cattle while we process, doctor, or otherwise work with them. If you’ve seen the Temple Grandin movie, this is the device that she makes to keep herself calm.
Steer: a castrated male bovine.
Weaning Season: the time of year when we wean calves. For us, this is in the fall. Weaning time means separating the calves from their mothers and giving them their vaccinations and booster shots.
Working/Processing Cattle: the general term for when we run cattle through the squeeze chute for routine procedures like vaccinating.
Yearling: a weaned bovine animal under two years of age of either gender.