Getting cows for ranch an adventure


May 19, 2017

What do you need to be a rancher? Land covered in something that the livestock will eat, a well or some way to keep them in water, fences to keep them off the neighbors, a hat to put your feather in and quite importantly … cows.

Those four-hooved, quad-stomached, moo-making, rascally bovines are kinda the core of a cattle operation. But since you can’t have the cows before you have a place to put them, and you usually have to pay for the place to put them with them, finding cows to put on your putting place is really important. However, getting them can be a bit of an adventure.

One option is to make your way to the nearest sale-barn that sells the sort of cattle you need. You sit there all day, watching hundreds of not-the-cows-you-are-looking-for go through the ring and trying not to scratch your nose or swat one of the many flies at an inopportune moment. You might come home with a grab bag of speckled heifers, older pairs, and two of those short-legged Oreo cows that might actually be aliens. All of them are tired, and have recently been exposed to every common contagion in the industry. And worst of all, you probably ended up with more than a trailer-load, but not enough to justify bringing the semi-truck. And it’s late and you’re hungry now, but you’ve got to go back after that second load.

A better solution, albeit one that takes a little more independent work, is to contact your contacts and start a cows-for-sale search. You have to be careful, because you don’t want to end up with cows maladjusted to the climate and conditions that they will soon be living with. You want them from relatively nearby, but not so close that they can just jump the fence and go back to where they thought they belonged. You may have to plot some midnight transportation to get them all back and you might’ve had to twist a few arms to get them to sell them at all, because ranchers don’t like to part with good cows. That is just a cold hard fact.

You probably won’t get as many as you really need, but be glad you got the good ones you did. But once you’ve got some, you can be lazy next year if you want and just keep the heifers instead of looking elsewhere.

Audra Brown never has enough cows. Contact her at:


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