Monday, May 28, 2012

Cattle... a family affair

Things have been a little hectic around the Rippe Ranch but I couldn't resist posting some of the pictures I took a few months ago.  Every year before the cows and new calves go to grass for the summer, they have to be worked.  They all get vaccinations to prevent diseases and keep them healthy, just like kids do.  We also give them a pour on product to help with fly control during the summer.

There has been a lot of discussion in the news and social media the last few months due to the legislation that would eliminate kids being able to work or help out on the farm.  I'm the first one to promote safety and, believe me, we are watching them like a hawk when they are out with us.  However, I couldn't help but think about all the things I had read by supporters of the bill as we worked our cow herd.

It's not so much the "labor" they provide at this age, but more about the quality family time we are having together and the work ethic that we are instilling.  The kids LOVE to be involved and feel like they are helping contribute to the task at hand.  Besides that, we are teaching our kids where food comes from, all about beef production, and how to appreciate what farmers and ranchers all across America do for us on a daily basis.
Even the family dogs get involved in action!!!

We always find age-appropriate tasks for the kids.  For example, Nate was in charge of handing syringes and equipment to his dad, and Ally recorded all of the tag information for every critter that came thru the chute.  After Gail and I sorted all the calves off the cows, Ally and Nate were in charge of getting them up to the barn.   Pushing calves is a great way for them to learn cattle handling skills in a safe manner and they are a big help to us!

This also gives them a chance to check out all the calves and decide which ones would make the best 4-H calves to take to the fair too!!

It was a big day but we had a great time working together and the kids were a HUGE help.  Sure, we could have done it without them, but it wouldn't have been near as much fun!