If it’s one thing I love, it’s visiting a working ranch and watching them do their thing. It makes for an even better day when I get to photograph and promote an operation.
I was able to hang out with the Freund’s for weaning day to take some pictures and be involved in the roundup and vaccination of calves.
9:00 a.m. – Roundup Begins
Cowboys came ready for a cattle drive Saturday morning. On horseback, they came from all directions to get all the cow/calf pairs to one place.
10:00 a.m. – Sorting
Once the cattle were penned; calves were sorted out to haul back to the ranch to be vaccinated.
11:00 a.m. – Vaccination Time
As 6 semi loads were hauled from the pasture to the ranch, Joey, Casey and more ranch hands were at the operation vaccinating and sorting the bulls and heifers.
3:00 p.m. – Wrap Up
Vaccinating and weaning 450 calves seems like a daunting task to most, but to Running Creek it’s just another day. The efficiency that they had was astounding. They were done vaccinating the bull and heifer calves in their pens on the operation by 3:00 p.m.
Running Creek still operates pretty much the same as when they started in 1971. While this ranch may be unique because they work all their cattle by horseback, what makes them truly unique is that they feed their cattle herd with Belgian draft horses instead of motorized vehicles.
How can a ranch, with over 1,200 head and no ATVs to work the cattle, operate to its full potential? Bob, Bill, Davey, and Enos are how this ranch operates day-to-day. These are the four draft horses that help the ranchers of Running Creek feed their cattle herd 365 days a year.
The 34,000 acres that is deeded or leased by Running Creek sustains 1,250 bred mature cows and 425 yearling heifers. The ranch is managed very similar to the commercial producers that purchase Running Creek genetics, save for an extensive AI program. Running Creek will synchronize and AI between 1,150 and 1,200 females each year in their spring-calving program. Polled, docile, low-maintenance, and functionally sound genetics are emphasized, coupled with optimal growth in a moderate frame. All genetic decisions are driven by producing seedstock for the commercial cowman. Running Creek normally merchandises 250 head of virgin 2-year-old bulls each year, primarily throughout Colorado and bordering states. All performance data, EPDs, fertility tests, breeding season guarantees, and registration transfers are included on every bull sold. Genomic samples are collected on a portion of the herd each year, and semen sales are offered on a number herd sires as well.
The ranch offers a bull retirement program, where bulls returned from commercial customers are fed for slaughter, and typically marketed into natural lean harvest outlets. Running Creek also finishes all non-replacement females and all steers and collects the feedlot performance data and individual carcass data. The cattle are fed for harvest via all natural, GAP-certified programs. Cattle have traditionally achieved 88-94 percent Choice Quality Grade, 75-85 percent Yield Grade 1s and 2s, with yields of 65-67 percent. The ranch also features a “locker-beef” program utilizing around 120 cattle yearly.
Being commercially focused, Running Creek Ranch participates in only a small amount of shows throughout the year. They exhibit bulls in the pen and carload division at the National Western Stock Show and the National Junior Limousin Show & Congress. Running Creek is also involved in the breed’s junior association, as well as in 4-H and FFA programs statewide.
Thank you Running Creek for letting me tag along!
Limousin cattle deliver to your bottom line. With superior genetics, a simple crossbreeding plan and state-of-the-art selection tools, the Limousin breed will serve profit-minded cow/calf producers. In today’s competitive markets, taking advantage of all available opportunities is key. The Limousin breed offers a variety of options from Fullblood to Purebred to the Lim-Flex® hybrid (Limousin x Angus cross) to match your program’s needs and market goals. Crossbreeding for the right blend of muscle, maternal ability and profit is easy with Limousin seedstock.