Not Your Average Registered Herd
Our herd runs on over thirty sections of U.S. Forest Service land in central Arizona, year around. Unlike most herds, we sometimes might only see a cow a three or four times a year; when they are rotated from one pasture to the next a couple of times per year, when we wean their calves, and when we A.I. them.
They run in big 4 to 12 section pastures in county so rough that most of it has no roads in or out. All of our cow work has to be done horseback. Although the country is breathtaking to look at, it is unforgiving if you’re a cow. So are we.
The end of April each year, we bring all our cow and replacement heifers in to a ½ section pasture to A.I. them all once. Since we don’t feed or supplement our cows or calves, we have to gather that ½ section pasture about four times in a week period, again all horseback. We breed them all in one or two days then they are turned out with the herdbulls, about one bull for every twenty cows. They have 60 days to breed back. If not, they are gone. The only exceptions made are for coming 3 year olds that have weaned their first calf. And then only it more than half of those haven’t bred back in 60 days. We figure if half of them haven’t bred, we really didn’t get enough rain to give them a fair chance. Not so, the heifers and older cows. They breed or go to town.
Since it doesn’t make economic sense to supplement our cows, when it doesn’t rain, which seems more often than not the last several years, we wean our calves early. They calve from mid-February to mid-April. We always plan to leave the calves on the cows till sometime in October, but have weaned as early as the end of July in order to not let them drag the cows down.
Our replacement heifers are placed on a weaning ration until the first good fall rains and the winter feed is started good. They are then turned out in another ½ section pasture until it’s time to breed them in the spring. Mostly they grow on native pasture; gramma grasses, winter annuals and cactus. Yes, cactus, mostly what the Mexicans call “nopal” or prickly pear. Apparently it’s delicious because they have to get past lots of thorns to eat it. In fact, they choose it over the lush winter grasses many times. Rarely do we feed our heifers after they are turned out.
Upon weaning, our bulls are placed on a growing ration in big rocky traps of 60 to a hundred acres in size. We have them designed to that they have to travel about ½ mile to water. This trims and toughens their hooves so they are better able to hold up when they are turned out in our customer’s pastures. This is one of the reasons we can offer the best guarantee in the business: 100%. That’s it. Not for 90 days, or the first breeding season. If a customer is not satisfied with our cattle, ever, bring them back and we will either replace them or give your money back. That’s how confident we are in the product we sell.