Your bull is in my pasture...

  
These signs were posted on a fence along a state highway in western Kansas. We took a few days this Spring Break to camp and happened across them and had a chuckle! But if you're not a rancher, you may not understand the severity of the situation.
Well, you probably understand by the last sign that if your bull jumps into this rancher's pasture, he will be castrated and you will no longer have a bull, but a steer....
But some people may not understand the anger and frustration behind having a neighbor's bull jump into your pasture.  These days, a bull may cost anywhere from $2,500 to $10,000 (for a herd sire--but more if you plan to sell semen to other ranchers). The bull that you breed your cows to will affect every single calf born from those cows...he is half the genetics of your calf crop. So ranchers select their bulls very carefully, weighing their characteristics, both physical and genetic, against their cows.
Lots of information is available to assist in the selection of the perfect bull to cross with your cows. Seedstock ranchers, like me, work hard to select the top bulls in our herd to offer to the other ranchers across the nation. These bulls will determine the quality and quantity of meat that is available in grocery stores and restaurants in about 2-3 years.  So if a neighbor's bull (who may or may not match your selection criteria) jumps in to your cows and breeds a few of them....you may be understandably upset!
In addition, the preventative health care that most bulls receive is very strict. Our bulls receive every shot and test available to guarantee that they are healthy and will not carry disease to your cow herd. But who knows what health program your neighbor follows! His visiting bull may introduce a veneral disease into your cow herd that may be nearly impossible to eradicate--or may result in dead calves.

On a seedstock ranch, we produce the breeding stock for other ranchers. I sell registered Angus bulls. I keep extensive records on which bull each cow is bred to, what shots she received and as each calf grows he/she is weighed and vaccinated regularly. We keep records of each of these activities. If a neighbor's bull jumps in and breeds a couple of my cows, those calves cannot be sold as breeding stock through my program and that results in a definite drop in income from those calves!

So, can you understand that this western Kansas rancher has a very low tolerance for "wandering bulls" in his pasture?

8 comments:

  1. Interesting. All of this was news to me! Do ranching neighbors often have disputes, and if so, how do they resolve them?

    { twitter = @danenow }

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  2. Dane, sure neighboring ranchers do have disputes. But an old saying goes, "Good fences make good neighbors." That means that each rancher has a responsibility to maintain the fence between their two lands. If they do, disputes are rare. Our philosophy is that as long as our neighbor is doing what he thinks is right in good faith, we can't really get too upset. If we have his bull in our pasture one day, mine may be in his the next. So we all work together for the best situation. Very rarely does a dispute like this need to be settled by a 3rd party.

    Thanks for asking!

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  3. It seems no matter how well fences are maintained bulls somehow manage to find their way through. We usually just put them back where they came from. :-) We try to stay dispute free around here. But not everyone is as agreeable as us. :-)

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  4. Those signs are cool and funny! I've never seen signs like that before outside of pastures around here.
    *MeMoRy

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  5. Those are great Debbie! I asked my 8 year old what they meant and she explained it perfectly! Must be teaching them well here!!! By the way, your enchilada soup recipe is now one of my favorites. Thanks for sharing. I've made it several times this winter!

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  6. I happen to know where those signs are and who the lovely artist that did them.

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