Ask any grazier, rancher or cattleman in the world, and he will tell you that his livestock are his top priority. Here at Signature Beef, we are no different. Cattle are our livelihood, and we genuinely love them. Keep this a secret from the herd, but we do have favourites. Dad’s is B-11, a beautiful Angus cow who has delivered exceptional calves year on year for nearly a decade. Growing up on the land ingrains a love for these animals, however you also learn the circle of life and its importance.
As a calf, a feeder steer spends his days with mum. Valuable information is passed on from generation to generation. Plants that are ok to eat, and plants that are not ok to eat. How to spot a predator or threat, and respond accordingly. Whether or not that car driving past is actually terrifying. Young bulls watch the older bulls to learn how to fight, then spar with each other before attempting to beat the older bulls. Calves learn from their mothers how to act through example. Cattle are incredibly reflective of their mothers and the environment they are raised in.
Calves experience humans from their early days, they see us as we check the waters and fences of their paddocks. And they see us in the branding muster, when they are moved, with their mothers, to stockyards to be branded. This allows them to be identified for the remainder of their lives. They also receive a tetanus shot to keep them healthy. They then return to their paddock, normally within 24 hours.
When the mother decides she is ready to have her next calf and has sufficiently looked after her current calf, she will naturally wean it. By this stage, the calf is able to look after itself, and we begin the weaning muster.
Join us next week for the next instalment in The Life of a Feeder Steer!