Maggie Loverin checks her pork loins adorned with grapefruit and oranges after we branded our Wagyu X calves yesterday, while the sun tried to break through the bad-air haze and remnants of Valley fog.
Noticeably quicker and more unpredictable to rope than our Angus calves, the Wagyu are a challenge to head and heel, real work for everyone. But we had a great day and ate well!
Well into our branding season now, we’re beginning to wear down a little, especially with the extra weight of wondering and worrying when it’s going to rain, repercussions of the drought still raw. One topic of conversation in the branding pen included the different kinds of bloat, fairly rare to most of us, but taking casualties in Antelope Valley, half-mile west of here.
All that methane gas that can’t escape inflates the cow and kills her usually leaving an orphan calf—a slurry of foamy gas in the cow’s rumen that can’t be released with an external needle or tube down her throat was news to us, that has come from our lush and washy feed in certain places on the flat ground, mostly filaree. We’ve had several of our cows blow up and subside on their own with a regular supplement of dry hay. There are also commercial free-choice products to prevent bloat that take time to incorporate into the cow’s system, but without assurance that everyone gets some.
How long this situation will last is unknown, but we know a rain would change things. With no likelihood for the rest of the month from any weather-predicting source, we get the work done in love with what we do.