Our Care Standards

Care standard are personal choices for herd health that develop over time. We don’t say these are the ideal way to raise cattle, but we want to give transparency and show what we are considering in herd health:

  • Vaccines and Medication:
    • We will NEVER use mRNA and other respiratory vaccines that are developed  for animals exposed to feedlots and auction yards where sickness is common.  We keep a “closed herd” of beef and have never used respiratory vaccines.We NEVER use any hormones or growth enhancers which are very common in feedlot cattle.We do not use insecticides on cattle for treatment of flies and lice.  We only keep external fly traps, and only use diatomaceous earth as a topical treatment (but this is rarely needed).We do not routinely use any commercial wormers.  We also do not use “home wormer” chemicals like copper sulphate.  Our cattle can free graze comfrey leaves, and have some winter supplement including diatomaceous earth and activated charcoal.  We would only treat with commercial wormers if we someday experienced an outbreak that we could not control in other ways.We give young calves one dose of “Clostridial 8-way” to boost immunity for many bacterial infections.  This is the human equivalent of getting a tetanus shot.  They will get this around 0-3 months of age to prevent serious infections from a cut or scrape.
    • The only antibiotic we use is penicillin.  This has only been used as a “last resort” treatment a few times in more than 10 years, and no animals would be butchered within 90 days of receiving this treatment.
  • Body Care:
    • We cut the horns on calves if they are less than 1 inch long and not attached to the skull.  We do not cut larger horns because of the trauma and risk of infection.
    • We castrate bull calves using banding.  Most are complete by 3 months of age.
    • We numeric tag in the ear, and never use insect control tags
  • Food Care:
    • We graze on natural grass pastures that are never sprayed.  The cattle also browse on trees and forbs surrounding the pasture, and self harvest apples and other fruit planted in each paddock.
    • We produce our own grass hay during the summer to feed during the winter months.  Hay paddocks are grazed early in the year and then allowed to grow for a single summer harvest.  After harvest , they are grazed again until winter.
    • Other seasonal supplemental treats: Corn stalks, windfall apples and pears, Apple cider pomace
    • We assure constant access to Mineral salt blocks with Selenium
    • Winter feed supplement: Diatomaceous earth, mineral salts, and activated charcoal
  • Social Care:
    • We keep a closed herd, raising calves from birth to butcherWe keep the whole herd together all year, including the bulls. We don’t separate for weaning, and the mama cows handle that just fine.We usually have one mature bull and one younger bull – different in size enough to not really have conflict.We don’t use electric fence or cattle guards – barbed wire is our primary fencingCows move as a herd between paddocks – most of our cattle never see a trailer.
  • Harvest
    • We only butcher healthy animals for meat. Animals are shot in the brain for immediate kill without releasing stress hormones that can affect the meat quality.
    • We use field butchery to harvest, with a maximum of 3 in a given day.  Cattle are shot in open space, bled in the field, and pulled out for mobile slaughter on a refrigerated truck.

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