Back Valley Ranch

All natural, free range, antibiotic and hormone free, organic quality, grass fed beef.

Back Valley Ranch

Chutes vs. Ropes

First off for those of you following the story of Tinker she is still alive and well. We had a scare a few days ago and thought that we were going to lose her, but she bounced back again. We had her with her mom and she just got very chilled and almost stopped breathing. Jerry and I brought her back to the house and put her under the porch in a bed of hay. After a couple of days she started acting better but we believe it’s best if she stays with us now instead of her mom. Things weren’t going well with Tinker learning how to suck anyways. Tinker is very smart and got the concept of sucking but she doesn’t seem to have proper use of her bottom lip. This made it very difficult for her to suck from her mom. She’s taking the bottle very well though so we’re just going to leave it at that and let her stay with us.

Onto my thoughts for the day. A couple of weeks ago I was with some other older ranchers and I was showing them the video of how we Scour Guard our cows. I thought they would get a kick out of it since we’re just tying them up and not running them through chutes. The video I’m talking about is viewable on the Back Valley Ranch facebook site. It shows Jerry calmly walking up to a group of cows, putting a rope over one and she walks over to the fence with him, ties and gets her shot. It’s all very low key and not a lot of fuss.

To my surprise, one of the ranchers said that he thought this was more cruel then putting them through a chute. “You’re choking the poor thing” he said. I didn’t really know what to say. I tried to explain to him that the rope loosens when the cow steps forward and if they ever get too tight then there’s a quick release knot to let them go. But he still just shook his head and said that he didn’t agree with it. I decided not to get into it as there was no point. I just thought to myself that he can’t handle his animals like we do, so which way is more cruel?

I’ve seen cattle in chutes, clanging around and getting stressed out. I’ve even seen where they’ve gotten stuck or flipped over backwards. After they’re treated they go running out of the chute and get as far away from the human as they can. Yet when ours are tied, they don’t run away after we release them. It’s a lot better for them we find as they don’t feel as trapped as in a chute.

I definitely don’t feel like we fit in with most conventional ranchers with our different ways of doing things. But our cattle are calm, easy to handle and live stress free lives. I’m currently reading “The Sheer Ecstasy of Being a Lunatic Farmer” by Joel Salatin and I’m comforted by the fact that we are not alone in being different.

One day I would like to see all feedlots gone from this world. I know that will probably never happen, but I can always hope.