I’ve been asked how we move the cattle for our rotational grazing program. Do we have to round them up and herd them? Chase them down? How do we get them into the next pasture? Today was time to move the cattle and here is how it went. The cow /calf pairs are lined up at the fence waiting for us. And bellering as loud as possible in case we haven’t noticed that they are ready to move to new grass – no chasing involved, thank goodness! There is usually a short learning curve of about one or two moves when we have to bring them up from the end of the field and coax them carefully through the gate. After that, the bovines have it down and are standing at the fence waiting for us, and reminding us loudly that they are ready to move – now.
So Alex holds the gate open while Rick walks behind the cattle. We use a 3 wire electric fence system with a solar charger.
The cows walk through the electric fence gate and the calves follow along behind their mamas. The cows have done this move many times and they don’t wait around.
Rick encourages the last calf to join the rest of the group. If one stray gets left behind, especially a calf, they don’t like it a bit and usually get a little squirrelly – that’s the technical term for it. Their mama’s get even more upset, not good. You want the whole group to stay together, much easier for everyone involved.
And here they come towards me – munching on mouthfuls of fresh grass as they go. The new calves born this spring have the green ear tags and the cows are yellow.
Alex closes the 3 wire gate behind them. I recommend you make sure you have the electric fence turned OFF before you start moving the cattle. Or you can find out the hard way a time or two and then you will always remember to check the fence. It does give you a jolt.
The group made the turn in front of me and are heading toward their new pasture which is clear down on the other side of the field. The closer they get to the fresh grass the faster they move.
The cow/calf pairs are moving past the field with the steers and yearling heifers on the left. We are going to move that group next.
As soon as the cattle get to the new pasture, they go through the gate at a run; kicking up their heels and enjoying themselves. No one is pushing them – in fact they are quite a ways ahead of us. We just trail along behind and close the gate.
The mamas and babies – who are really not babies anymore – grazing in the new field of fresh grass beneath Lookout Mountain.
Those little calves from the spring have really grown. They are all looking good and stout. It will be interesting to see how much weight they have gained when we bring them back home and run them through the scale this fall.
The whole group of bovines is as nosy as ever. Rick and Alex were working on the fence and they all went over to take a look.
And that was the first cattle move of the day. Nice and easy!