Cattle Worming or is it Worming Cattle?

For you dog owners out there, you understand the importance of worming man’s best friend. Right around the mid-point of spring I had the opportunity of worming our combined herd. Fortunately for me, my vision of what the task would entail didn’t turn out to be anywhere what the reality was.

Over on the grounds where the majority of the herd is kept, which until fairly recently was mainly used for a hunting camp on 350 acres of rolling hills, Rusty had built a pen to collect the herd for various purposes for short periods of time. Just a little while ago he added a ‘chute’ off of the pen to make it easier to sort the cattle or medicate them. The chute was used for the worming process.

First the herd was called to the pen. Rusty makes a yodeling sound which is punctuated by blowing the horn of his truck. The cattle are so used to this sound as it means they are going to feed. Three bags of feed are put into 3 separate troughs and then we wait. He stops calling when we can hear the lowing (short for bellowing) of the herd as they approach.

Once they are all in the pen, the gate is closed on the 23 of them. After they finish eating, 3 or 4 of us go in to the pen and walk along the inside of the pen in a clockwise direction slowly with our hands out stretched. We do carry long crops to protect ourselves if need be, but the cows are gentle overall. The cows move along the inside of the fence until they come to the opening of the chute. Only so many can fit into the chute so it takes about 3 times to get the whole job done.

Rusty has pulled his truck along side the chute and stands in the back of the truck bed overlooking the chute. He has a gallon container of liquid with a special applicator that allows a precise amount of liquid on to the top of the cattle’s spine. The liquid is what I would call a transdermal medicine that gets absorbed into the animals blood and spread through its body. It repels various insects that normally bite them for about 90 days at a time. Within days you can notice a big improvement on how free of insects are on the animals.

A pretty slick operation! Then it’s “Miller time”.

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