A low stress and cruelty free life is something that we believe benefits every animal on our ranch. We address 6 Stress Points in the animals lifecycles and work to reduce stress at each one. Stress in beef animals is one of the leading causes of improper marbling of the intramuscular fats throughout the animals life cycle. By reducing stress levels at stress points we are providing our customers with a better product. So not only do our animals benefit from our humane treatment system but so do our customers.
Calving: The cattle are calved
in pastures from mid April to mid June; this removes them from the stress of
winter from January to March. Late calving also
results in less fatalities due to freezing conditions and virtually zero
sickness. Field calving reduces the likeliness of infections and health
afflictions that are common with calving in constrained areas such as barns and
pens. As a result our calves do not require any antibiotics when they are born.
Cattle Handling: The handling of
animals is something that many people associate animal cruelty with. Our operations are based around causing very little
stress. We do not use any electric shockers when working our cattle; instead we
focus on positioning and using our hands to direct our cattle. As well by doing
our cattle round ups on horseback we avoid the stress that vehicles can cause
in rounding up. We work hard to avoid the cattle following their flighty
instincts. In 2015 we moved to a hydraulic squeeze system that reduces the
stress of the animals when they are being worked on individually, by properly
Branding, Dehorning & Castration: The animals in our
meat program are not dehorned or branded. The steer calves are castrated using
a banding technique that is bloodless and only leaves them in discomfort for
18-24 hours, which is very little compared to the problems that can be
associated with surgically cutting them.
Weaning: Our weaning program
(diagram below) is one that was developed on the ranch for the specific purpose
of reducing the stress of weaning on the calves to almost nothing. The animals
are split in October (when they are 5.5 months old) and placed on different
sides of a 4 wire electric fence. The mothers and calves can see each other and
while the calves graze and continue with their lives the mothers watch them for
24-48 hrs and then move on with theirs. The system is not 100% reducing in
stress on the cows as no system ever will. The calves do not experience a long
haul experience or a change of environment so there is little to no stress on
The system works where the Cows (mothers) have approximately 3-4 days of feed when the weaning process begins. By the time it comes for them to be moved to a new pasture they have gotten over the stress of weaning as the pressure in the utters has declined. They move easily and weaning is finished. The calves are then raised through the fall and winter as their own grazing unit. Using this system since 2014, not a single calf has needed to be vaccinated for fever or any other sickness throughout the fall and winter. Animals shipped off to feedlots over this same time period would on average receive 2-4 shots of antibiotics. Our cows and calves graze most of their lives in large pastures providing them with the space they need to live a natural life in the sunshine, free of crowding and extensive confinement. Between adequate room and a low stress environment 99% of our animals never need an antibiotic shot unless do to unforseen injury.