This is how we do it | Cattle Processing

As a feedlot owner, we do all we can to keep cattle healthy.

One way we do that is by processing cattle.  Cattle processing is one area where everyone gets involved.  The term processing refers to giving cattle needed vaccinations, identification, de-worming, etc…  It is not doctoring as that term refers to getting a sick animal from the pen and bringing it in to get antibiotics so that the animal will heal.  Processing is often done when cattle first arrive at the feedlot and then later for revaccinating or implanting.

When we process cattle, I run the chute.  The chute is similar to a cage with moving sides, a back gate that shuts and a front gate that the head goes through.  We give all our shots when the animal is standing in the chute to protect the animal and the people involved.  We will use the term steer (neutered male beef animal) as I further explain what I do.

When the steer walks into the chute I will use the squeeze which is like someone giving you a squeeze around your midsection.  The squeeze keeps the steer from going too quickly into the head gate.  As the steer pokes his head through the front or the head gate, I close the head gate.  The head gate is similar to having someone place their hands firmly at your neck holding your head from rolling around.  There is no choking, just a nice firm grip similar to what a C-collar does when you get into a car accident.

So the animal gets what could be called a hug and a kiss hold to keep him from jumping around!

Next, I reach through the side and give the animal his vaccinations.  My husband works at the front of the animal to give the animal a tag with a number in his ear.  We also give our cattle products that control lice and internal parasites.  When we are done, I open the front and out the steer walks back to his pen. This is how we do cattle processing on our family feedlot.

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About Joan Ruskamp

I am originally from Grand Island, Nebraska and am a 1980 graduate of Nebraska School of Technical Agriculture at Curtis in Veterinary Technology. In 1981, I married Steve and moved to the farm his dad was born and raised on west of Dodge, Nebraska. Farming was hard in the ‘80’s, but we stayed on the farm by feeding hogs until we could feed cattle and eventually custom fed cattle until 2009. We now run a cattle herd we own with room for 4,000 head of cattle! My role on the farm has evolved/adapted as we have five children ages 17-28, but I’ve always stayed involved with bookwork, doctoring, processing and numerous other little jobs with the cattle.
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