We weaned our last bunch before this storm. The basic idea is simply to separate mommas cows from calves. People have creative ways to do it, but we’re pretty simple and old school around here.
Sorting here is done on foot. Riding horses and sorting cattle works for some people, but if you don’t do it perfectly, it just teaches cattle to sneak past your horse. Feet and sorting sticks work for us.
Our cows are worked often so they they know the routine… and when you know where a cow’s “bubble” is, you can get her to go where you want by pressuring her or releasing pressure. The flags on the end of the sorting sticks can wave in front of a calf’s face or make a popping sound for encouragement.
Vernon’s sorting off calves into the top pen, while Daniel puts the cows into the lower pen. Brandon’s working both sides. Megan and I are catching and returning those along the edges.
We’ve had lots of experience doing this… reading the stocks’ body language and each other’s. A step or two, a raised flag, arms lifted, with only an occasional, “hey, hey” to stop something is usually all it takes. It’s easy to mess someone up if you’re not watching each other, or there’s a new person in the mix. Fewer people is often better!
The secondary use for sorting sticks known by all ranchers…Find me here!