Back Valley Ranch

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

Back Valley Ranch

Summer/Fall Update


Hello fellow beef lovers. Wow hasn’t the summer months just flew by? It’s amazing how time gets away from us on the ranch. It’s been one heck of a summer and fall and I have lots of stories to share with you I don’t even know where to start. Let’s start with the unbelievable jump in sales we’ve had this past month.

Due to the Ecoli outbreak our sales have increased to the point we have already sold out of October, November, December, January and almost February now. There’s a few freezer packs leftand we will have ground and stew packs available. People are realizing the health benefits and lack of ecoli in grass fed beef so they are making the switch. We’re going to need more beef. However we don’t have the land to sustain anymore then we currently have. Jerry and I have been looking for a ranch to partner with but it’s been a hard task. We want nothing that has gone through auction as we need to know where the animals have come from, how they were fed, what was put into them and of course, how they are treated. Most ranches will either raise calves and sell them as weaned calves in the fall, or they buy weaned calves and raise them to yearling. So this has been a difficult task for us. Some of you know we have found a ranch that raises from birth to yearling, they don’t feed anitibiotics, they don’t use hormones and they don’t use grain (except on their bulls that they sell for breeding). This place is none other then Hi-Valley Limousin where we got our two wonderful bulls from last fall, Optimus Prime and Megatron. Dave and Linda Harvey have spent over 20 years perfecting this breed and they love their herd unconditionally. Because they lack a butcher in their area and don’t really have the time for marketing themselves, their cattle have usually gone to auction, minus the ones they sell as breeding stock. We started talking to them last year about the possibility of partnering with us. So this year we are buying 4 cull cows from them. This is where we get our ground/stew packs along with our speciality orders such as sausages, smokies, pepperoni…etc. Next year we are to get at least 10 steers. Eventually we would like to buy all their yearlings and cull cows every year. So we shall see how things go but we are very excited with the partnership and look forward to being able to provide people with more healthy beef. If only we could get all the ranches to convert, hmmm.

Next topic, BABIES!!! We had a very interesting summer calving season with our new Limousin cross babies being born. We had a first on the ranch this year, which was 3 sets of twins born within a 2 week period. The record is 2 sets born on the ranch. Our new bulls are so good they bred some of the cows twice. Claudette had the first set and she was able to care for them herself as she’s young with lots of milk. I named those two Mudflap and Skids after the Transformer twins. The next set was born out of an old cow Big Bertha. Poor Bertha got a hernia after the birth and this will have to be her last calving season. She is unable to feed both so we managed to transplant one of the twins onto Brooke who has raised twins before and has more then enough milk for two. Those twins were named on facebook which was Oliver and Twist. Finally Target was our last cow to have twins. Again, like Bertha, she’s quite old and doesn’t have the milk for two. We ran out of cows to transplant a twin onto so we tried milk replacer. The babies, Ginger and Snaps both refused the milk replacer. So the only thing we could really do was put them on really good feed to up Targets milk production and give Ginger and Snaps something to munch on as well. Other then a scare in the beginning with Snaps where we almost lost him, all twins are alive, healthy and well.

I found it weird how this year we lost 3 calves but we had 3 sets of twins that put us back up to 100%. Last year we lost 2 calves and had 2 sets of twins. The year before that we didn’t lose any calves and we had no twins born. Funny how these things work out.

So the total count for summer calving was 24 calves born out of 21 momma cows. These Limousin cross babies are already showing us that getting Limousin bulls was a great choice. They are beautiful. The babies all have these big butts on them which will pack more meat and hopefully get us a bigger yield on each animal naturally without having to grain like others do. They are growing fast and we can’t wait to see what they look like as yearlings. Last fall was a train wreck with our two bulls breaking down and having to be replaced so late in the season. But Optimus and Megatron stepped in and saved the day with these wonderful babies. We also never would of met Dave and Linda Harvey and have gotten the chance to form this partnership with them.

Throughout the summer all the cattle pretty much behaved themselves and only came home a couple of times close to the end of summer just before they were due to come home. Some of you know this story but due to a down fence some of our cattle came back home a different route through land that they were not allowed to be on. This happens with cattle and we always found them the same day they came down and brought them home. It didn’t happen often, just 3 times with a small group of about 10 head. Well the third time they came down we got a knock on our door by a neighbour. He said that he heard someone saying that our cattle were not supposed to be there and this person was going to go shoot them. We thanked our neighbour for telling us immediately retrieved our cattle. We made a few calls in regards to the threat to make sure nothing would come of it. All of the cattle came home, all but one, Mocha. Mocha was one of that animals that came home through the way they wern’t supposed to. Suddenly he’s missing, oh no. We checked all over the range, through the ranch and everywhere our cattle hang out, nothing. Jerry stuck some hay up on the range to see if maybe he was still up there and again nothing. Someone threatened to shoot one of our animals and suddenly a small yearling is missing. We phoned the police and managed to get a name from a source. Turns out Mocha was just hiding very well and he was found alive and well, completely broken off from the heard on the other side of the mountain. It was quite the adventure getting him home but we’re happy that he’s alive. As for the person who threatened to shoot our cattle, the police know about it and it’s on file. So hopefully it won’t happen. Definitely put us in a panic though for a couple of weeks. Someone threatens to shoot our cattle and for the first time ever, one goes missing and we can’t find him. Great timing Mocha, thanks for that you little brat.

The cattle are home now and have just polished off our hay field. They are all full feed or hay now and will soon be heading to our neighbours place for the winter. For those that don’t know we have a friend, Archie, about 25kms down the road from us. He makes beautiful alfalfa hay on approx 80 acres of land. We made a deal with Archie that he doesn’t do his final cut of hay but just irrigates it for grazing. So once there’s been a good hard frost (usually after the first week of December) we take everyone (excluding the bulls) to Archies to graze. If all goes well then the cattle are usually good until about mid to end of January grazing without having to be fed. We also buy most of Archies hay off of him on top of making our own. So after the cattle have grazed the fields we just feed the hay directly onto the hay field. This saves us trucking costs having to bring the hay home to feed and then Archie also gets his hay fields naturally fertilized. So it’s a win win for everyone. Our yearlings grow like crazy being free fed hay off of Archies field and he’s a very big part of helping us get the natural gains.

I would like to quickly ad that we had the pleasure of having a couple of our best customers come out to the ranch and visit us over the summer. Shawn and Michelle Chapman are regular customers and always make us laugh with stories of their adventures. They spent the night here at the ranch and we showed the some of the sites and a bit of what we do around here. Michelle has adopted the Paleo lifestyle and has a company called Raw Fitness. Raw Fitness has a page on facebook and it’s a great place to check out and get healthy living tips along with the fact she has workout sessions as well. We encourage anyone who want to come and see the ranch to let us know and we will be more then happy to show you around.

That’s it for updates for now. There should be quite a few smaller blogs coming in the next little bit as I get caught up on all the backlog of writing I’ve been wanting to do all summer. Going to work on some sort of schedule so I don’t get behind and can bring you all weekly reports on life and times at Back Valley Ranch.