Innovative Livestock Services, Inc.
Down Arrow
Tuesday, September 5 2017 7:00 AM
By Heather Donley

Back to School & Preparing Cattle for Success

As summer comes to an end, it is replaced with homework, school activities, and packing lunches which creates quite the back to school process! The kids think about new backpacks, tennis shoes and clothes while Mom’s days are filled with setting up appointments for dentists, physicals, and making sure that they have all the right vaccinations.

 Preparing for back to school sets the kids up for success. The process of creating new “back to school habits” a couple of weeks before the first day includes getting to bed earlier (This seems the most challenging as my trio thinks somehow we can delay school starting by ignoring that it is coming!), and making and freezing healthy and nutritious breakfast meals to fuel the mind and body. Lastly, there is the never ending laundry….despite our best efforts to have it caught up…..

 Proper preparation prevents poor performance.


 Weaning Calves

 Just as fall brings a new school year, it also signifies weaning calves on a farm. Many ranchers will wean their calves from the mama cows during the fall months. Calves will be about 7 - 8 months old and weigh anywhere from 400 – 650 pounds.  After calves are weaned, some will leave the home ranch and go to a “backgrounder” where they receive care through the winter months. During this phase, cattle grow and build the necessary habits and skills that they will need when they transition into the feedlot. Each phase in the life cycle provides a stepping stone, allowing the animals to thrive all along the way.

 It’s not much different than how I build healthy habits with my children and provide them with good nutrition and necessary vaccinations during their own life adventures!


 The Backgrounding Phase

 Dillwyn Feedyard provides a stopping place for ILS cattle before they arrive at one of our feedlots. The backgrounding yard, managed by Tyler Taylor, works to care for our weaned calves by creating a healthy environment where they can grow and prepare for the next life stage.

  Ty and his team of four put a lot of passion behind what they do! Once the calves arrive at Dillwyn, their health and fitness are visually assessed. Specific care programs are created for the cattle depending on the weather and the age and size of the animals. As you can imagine, changes in weather can impact cattle health just like the winter months always seems to bring sniffles or the flu to our houses! 

  Each group of cattle that arrives at Dillwyn is unique in their own way. Ty and his crew have learned how to “read” cattle to really understand their specific needs. This allows the caregivers to find the best way to create effective care. Effort, time, and dedication by the crew insure cattle comfort.

 Just like kids get a little nervous to start the new school year, calves can experience stress after moving from the ranch to their new home. Cattle are creatures of habit so Ty quickly helps them to find comfort in a new set of healthy habits.

 When kids start school with a healthy immune system and a good breakfast after a restful night, it allows them to learn and grow in the school environment. The same holds true for calves: nutritious feed, access to fresh clean water, and a strong immune system set them up for success at Dillwyn. This success carries over when it comes time to travel to one of our feedlots.

 Don’t expect success. Prepare for it.

 Look for our Dillwyn crew highlights all throughout the month on Facebook and Twitter; and help us to thank these folks that give the extra time, care, and needed attention to ensure that our calves are set up for success! 




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Innovative Livestock Services, Inc.

Innovative Livestock Services

2006 Broadway Avenue
Great Bend, KS 67530

(620) 793-9200

4805 Vue du Lac
Manhattan, KS 66503

(785) 587-9700

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