How do you catch them all?

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Bigfoot
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How do you catch them all?

Postby Bigfoot » Thu Aug 10, 2017 9:29 pm

In my life, I have never been able to catch every cow, calf, and bull on my place at the same time. That is a feat that I have truely never accomplished. I've put an honest effort in it many times. Just can't do it. I calve about 10 months out of the year, so I have calves on the ground from 5 days old to 8 months old.

Some odd hang up on here, about posting numbers, so I usually avoid it. Guess I'll have to spill the beans. As of today, I have 84 cows, 51 or 52 calves on the ground, 3 bulls, and 9 short bred heifers.

I need to do some weaning, some sorting, and some culling. I've tried all week, to catch as many as I can at once. Kinda successful, and kinda not.

My approach:
I put 50 pounds of feed in the catching pen. Do it everyday, for a few days. Just pour in my troughs, and go on like nothing is going on. They get wise, and start coming. After 3 or 4 days of that, I'll put out 50 pounds of feed, and scatter 2 bales of alfalfa hay (that holds in there longer). This whole process, will go on for a week or more. I eventually build up to getting 75% (or a little more) in my catching pen all at once. The 25% or so I don't get is enough to discombobulate the whole thing. I don't have a calf, that goes to a certain cow, or vice versa. I end up with about half what I need to be successful.

Starting tomorrow, I'm going to go back to my triedand true method. Keeping mineral in the catching pen, and nabbing the ones I can, as I can. This process will take til fall.

I also have the ability to catch any animal, at any time, with a horse. I'll end up resorting to that on a few. I don't like it, but it happens.

At the risk of sounding dumb, how do you people catch the entire herd at one time? I just don't seem to have the skill set to do it.
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kenny thomas
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Re: How do you catch them all?

Postby kenny thomas » Thu Aug 10, 2017 9:35 pm

I have a system of several pens so I keep moving them back into another pen as they come in. If I catch either the cow or the calf I leave it up and within a little while the match to it will come into the first pen trying to get to it in the second pen. I fixed it so they have to enter the first pen to get close to its match in the second or third pen. A cow with no calf or a calf with no cow might ruin the plan.
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Re: How do you catch them all?

Postby kenny thomas » Thu Aug 10, 2017 9:46 pm

May seem excessive but I have a series of 7 pens before they get to the sweep tub. Makes working cattle by myself easy. Took a while to design and was expensive but sure works good.
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Re: How do you catch them all?

Postby bird dog » Thu Aug 10, 2017 9:50 pm

I rotate my herd every 5 to 7 days so they get used to moving to better grass. One paddock funnels into the pens. Only problem is they won't be back to that paddock for around 45 days so if you need to catch one, well it ain't easy.
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Re: How do you catch them all?

Postby Bigfoot » Thu Aug 10, 2017 9:59 pm

kenny thomas wrote:I have a system of several pens so I keep moving them back into another pen as they come in. If I catch either the cow or the calf I leave it up and within a little while the match to it will come into the first pen trying to get to it in the second pen. I fixed it so they have to enter the first pen to get close to its match in the second or third pen. A cow with no calf or a calf with no cow might ruin the plan.


My set up,is definitely part of my problem. My actual catching/working pen, would hold the entire herd. It would be a little tight, but it could be done. The pen itself, would hold anything. It's 7 feet tall. I have 2 "pens" leading to that. They are probably the weak spot in the plane. They are just barbed wire fences, with 2 strands of electric. Maintaining 75% of the herd, in a small space, till I get the other 25% is probably where I fail. Plus, just about any time I put pressure on them in the barbed wire part of my catching system, one or more will crash it.

Patience, and perhaps common sense, are probably what's stopping me. I'm also too tight to build what would get the job done efficiently. my actual working pen, is adaquet to hold just about anything.

What I need to accomplish sounds simple. Wean about 30 calves, and cull about 10 cows for various issues. Be sweet, to do that in one big swoop. It's not going to happen. I will gobble up a bunch of time doing it my way.
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Re: How do you catch them all?

Postby kenny thomas » Thu Aug 10, 2017 10:01 pm

Can't remember his name but one member from maybe Wisconsin had his paddocks fixed so every time they changed the cattle had to go through the working alley. He said after a while it was real easy because they always thought going into the chute meant fresh grass.
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Re: How do you catch them all?

Postby True Grit Farms » Thu Aug 10, 2017 10:06 pm

I have my water source in a catch pen, and feed in a sorting pen. I also built a feed trailer that I pull behind the Kubota and the cows and calves will follow anywhere that I want them to go. I contribute our ease of handling to calm cattle and rotational grazing. We've never had a problem catching all the cows yet. No dogs, no horses and no cowboy's is the way it's always been here. In Florida we used 4 or 5 dogs, 6 cowboy's, and 3 hired hands to work 2 -3 hundred pairs a day, and rarely did one ever escaped getting worked.
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Re: How do you catch them all?

Postby Bigfoot » Thu Aug 10, 2017 10:07 pm

Also, not all of my pastures join my true working pens. I have 3 what I call traps scattered around my farm. Small, but sturdy built pens, with no head catcher or squeeze. Worst case scenerio, I can catch something, and wean it at any time. I can also haul something that needs doctored to my working pen. If it's small enough, or gentle enough, I can do many things in those pens.
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Re: How do you catch them all?

Postby True Grit Farms » Thu Aug 10, 2017 10:11 pm

Bigfoot wrote:
kenny thomas wrote:I have a system of several pens so I keep moving them back into another pen as they come in. If I catch either the cow or the calf I leave it up and within a little while the match to it will come into the first pen trying to get to it in the second pen. I fixed it so they have to enter the first pen to get close to its match in the second or third pen. A cow with no calf or a calf with no cow might ruin the plan.


My set up,is definitely part of my problem. My actual catching/working pen, would hold the entire herd. It would be a little tight, but it could be done. The pen itself, would hold anything. It's 7 feet tall. I have 2 "pens" leading to that. They are probably the weak spot in the plane. They are just barbed wire fences, with 2 strands of electric. Maintaining 75% of the herd, in a small space, till I get the other 25% is probably where I fail. Plus, just about any time I put pressure on them in the barbed wire part of my catching system, one or more will crash it.

Patience, and perhaps common sense, are probably what's stopping me. I'm also too tight to build what would get the job done efficiently. my actual working pen, is adaquet to hold just about anything.

What I need to accomplish sounds simple. Wean about 30 calves, and cull about 10 cows for various issues. Be sweet, to do that in one big swoop. It's not going to happen. I will gobble up a bunch of time doing it my way.


You need a bigger catch pen Bigfoot. The timid, flighty cows and calves don't want to be bunched up. And they will cause all kinds of problems.
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Re: How do you catch them all?

Postby Aaron » Thu Aug 10, 2017 10:13 pm

Herefords. Come like dogs when called. Ones who don't, find themselves on a hook real quick. I've got a few foxy girls who test my patience occasionally and one of these times my temper will blow and they'll go for a ride.
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Re: How do you catch them all?

Postby Bigfoot » Thu Aug 10, 2017 10:43 pm

I had a nice response typed to several of these post, and it flew away somewhere. Moral of the story, I could use both better, and bigger facilities.

I come, and go on what to do. Current thought process is cut down to 40 cows, and 1 bull. Even when I'm at that number, I can't pull off the elusive whole herd catch though.
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Re: How do you catch them all?

Postby dun » Thu Aug 10, 2017 11:34 pm

Bucket trained or start rotating pastures regularly. When they get sued to moving frequently you'll have to get out of the way to keep them from running you over as they go to where you are. May be a couple of slow pokes but they'll get there fairly quickly.
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Re: How do you catch them all?

Postby wbvs58 » Fri Aug 11, 2017 2:58 am

Spear traps, http://www.arrowfarmquip.com.au/product ... pear-trap/ are used a fair bit on some extensive property's in Australia. They fence about 5 acres around a waterhole and have these going in and going out. With no other water in the paddock all cattle get trained to go through and when they want to muster the paddock just lock up the out and wait a couple of days and all will be caught.

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Re: How do you catch them all?

Postby Rafter S » Fri Aug 11, 2017 3:48 am

How large is the pen you're trying to catch them in? I pen about 25 cows, with a bull and calves, in a wire pen that's 32 x 64. You need a pen large enough that they won't be crowded. After getting them in the trap with feed I then move them into the smaller pens and work them a few at a time.
Also, for the bunch you're talking about 50 pounds of feed isn't enough. The ones that come in first will have it all eaten up before the more timid ones come in. I usually put out 150 pounds when I'm penning mine. You should try at least 200, and maybe more.
Good luck.
Last edited by Rafter S on Fri Aug 11, 2017 7:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How do you catch them all?

Postby cow pollinater » Fri Aug 11, 2017 5:33 am

In CA I did everything with horses and dogs. Even the rank ones would get the hint after they got choked on and chewed on a few times and it got to where I could ride through and yell a little and they'd head to the corrals and be waiting for me when I got there. When I sold out I cleaned out around two hundred pairs by gathering daily and hauling what I could and turning the rest out.
Here in OK, I don't even own a horse anymore. I AM getting back into dogs because sooner or later I'll have one that doesn't want to come and dogs can be really convincing. I put a feed bin on the back of my one ton and made my gas rig the daily driver. The only time he cows see the one ton is when they will get fed. I can gather everything on the place in half an hour or so and most of that time is opening and shutting gates. I still have to watch for calves hanging up but if you watch your cows they'll tell you where they're at and I can usually just lead the whole bunch to them and then they follow along.
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