Browsing Tag



Never Give Up- A Tale of a Premature Calf Born on the Dot Seven Ranch

August 13, 2017

Fall on the Dot Seven Ranch can only mean one thing: calving season. We start calving about the end of August but this year was much different. About two weeks ago (end of July) my Mom was doing a routine herd check on a Friday morning when she noticed one of the first calf heifers going into labor. This was not a good sign and we were prepared for the worst.

Calves born an entire month early typically don’t survive. They are underdeveloped and much too small, not to mention the heat of the Central San Joaquin Valley is often far too intense for a newborn to handle.

Fortunately, the heifer had the calf without any complications. Step one was a success. Much to my Mom’s surprise, she also found the calf alive! We knew at this point that although we had a LONG way to go, we were going to do anything in our power to help this calf survive his unfortunate entrance into this world.

Not surprisingly, this calf was TINY. His hair was very short and coarse. His ears fit in the palm of my hand, a little bigger than the likes of a golfball. He was a tiny heap of bones with all the obvious signs that he should have baked a little longer.

First order of business was getting colostrum into him as soon as possible. We knew if there was any chance of him living it would be because of the colostrum and our intervention. My mom also administered (injected) some vitamins and minerals to give him a little extra boost. We call these our “weak calf shots” and they come at the recommendation of our veterinarian.

It was soon decided that Maximus would be his name. After all he needed something strong going into the hard battle he had ahead.

Maximus couldn’t drink from a regular bottle, the nipple was too big for his mouth. It was off to the feed store for a smaller goat nipple. And that was just the ticket. He drank a healthy amount of colostrum considering his size; that was when we started to think he had a chance.

The heifer was in a small pen in the coral that we use for these kinds of unexpected calving season scenarios.  Shade, fresh food, & water were provided and after his feeding we put Max back with his mother.

For the next week-and-a-half trips were made morning and night to feed Max and try to see if the heifer had any milk. In the beginning, my mom would get about a quarter cup each feeding so we continued to supplement Max with the hopes that his mom would start producing much more milk soon. After all, she wasn’t supposed to calve for another month.

Slowly but surely everything progressed. Max got stronger. His mother’s natural instincts kicked in. Her udder filled out a little bit at a time. And Max drank less and less of the milk he was being fed.

At two weeks old, Max is no longer super wobbly, he bawls and play and kicks like a normal calf and his mother cares for him very intently. We are proud to say that this pair has moved to a larger pasture where he will continue to grow. We will monitor them closely for many weeks to come. And my mom still makes the heifer take Max to the shade every single day.

Sometimes, ranching isn’t easy but lessons are learned and the rewards far outweigh the sweat and tears. For more updates on Max follow my instagram @meetyourbeef or @thebeefboutique . I share updates on my stories often ūüôā



Mitch Behling- A Millennial in the Beef Industry

April 29, 2015

I can’t tell you guys how excited I am about this interview! Mitch has been a part of my family before he could walk or even talk. I consider him and his brother cousins although they are of no blood relation. Back story: my grandfather’s mother died when he was just 13 years old. Shortly there after he went to work for Bud & June Sample who would be Mitch’s great grandparents. These people not only gave my grandfather a job but took him in and treated him as a son and brother. Although that was three generations ago, Mitch’s family and my family still celebrate the holidays together. Better yet, Mitch and I are usually on the same team during family games… and by no chance at all, we are usually the winners! ūüėČ Sorry Brett!

Without any further ado, here he is!

1. Give some background info on your ranch. Family history, how many generations, specific location, sector of the industry (cow/calf) and the type of cattle you raise.

I am the fifth generation in my family to ranch in the Central Valley. The current ranch in which my family owns and operates was founded in the early 1900’s. It is located northeast of Clovis, California at the base of the foothills. We run a commercial cow/calf herd of Angus cattle.

2. What is your role on the ranch? And does having another sibling help in the sharing of responsibility?

My role on the ranch is helping my dad. The tasks can range from cattle work, to welding projects, building fence, putting in water lines, or various other improvements to the ranch. I have an older brother who helps however he is now attending school in Idaho.

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Stockmanship 101 from Curt Pate

January 26, 2015

Cattle handling plays a crucial role towards the bottom line of a ranch. The way in which a rancher works their cattle can directly correspond to their profitability. Just like humans, when cattle are stressed their immune systems can be compromised. An animal that isn’t healthy isn’t marketable and therefore not beneficial to the rancher.¬†In todays day and age, we know that consumers want to see their food grown and handled in a responsible way. And we as ranchers have to maximize efficiencies in order to make a living. Luckily when we handle cattle in the proper way, both the consumer and the rancher mutually benefit.


This weekend, I was able to watch and learn from a professional in the industry and a man I have a great respect for, Mr. Curt Pate. Mr. Pate did a live demonstration on the subject of¬†Stockmanship.¬† He describes Stockmanship¬†as “the knowledgeable and skillful handling of¬†livestock¬†in a safe, efficient, effective, and low stress manner¬†with the intent of enhancing ranch profitability and improving animal welfare.” I love that definition. It proves that what the consumer AND the rancher want are indeed the exact same thing!

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Branding, Featured

Scenes from the Branding Pen

November 16, 2014

It’s that time of year again… Branding time! This year we had an addition to the crew. Nick has been around our family for years, but it was his first time branding with us and I have to say he did a fantastic job. After some of the initial castrating shock wore off, he settled into his job like a professional. Kudos to him because he had my least favorite job (if you’re not careful you can lose a few teeth): catching and securing the legs of the bull calves in order for my brother to castrate. Nick took advice and learned quickly. And he didn’t get kicked once!

My job was to catch heads and vaccinate.

My job was to catch heads and vaccinate.

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2014 Drought

California Drought on a Central Valley Ranch

July 17, 2014

My friend and fellow blogger, Megan Brown,¬†over at The Beef Jar¬†recently uncovered some rather hurtful words that her local Butte Environmental Council shared on their Facebook page. ¬†After I saw what’s pictured below,¬†I decided that maybe I should continue to share how real the drought in the Central Valley is and how it has hurt my family’s business as well as multiple farmers and ranchers in the area. ¬†Just to be clear: my intent in writing these posts is to share our business, foster agricultural education, and develop conversation pieces that may lead to a better understanding for the greater good. ¬†I hope it comes off that way.

Here is what Butte Environmental Council put on their Facebook page that inspired this post:

Cry me a River??

Cry me a River??

My mom is the 3rd generation cattle rancher and she runs the ranch my grandparent’s fought hard to preserve all their life. ¬†As most everyone knows by now, over the last 4-5 years we have had a heck of a time with the drought. ¬†2014 has been the worst. ¬†The ranch we raise our beef on solely relies on annual rainfall to grow the native grass to feed our cattle. ¬†There is no irrigation on this land. ¬†Average annual rainfall for us is somewhere around 12-13″ a year. ¬†This year, there was no rain in December and most of January (typically wet months for us). ¬†Our grand total was a whopping 4.89″ of rainfall. ¬†That was also accompanied by record high temperatures.

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