Legal drivers in farm country are 14 years old

These are my boys--yes, they're teenage boys! They like to get dirty! They are great kids, but I don't really understand what makes them tick. This is them in a relatively clean state on a muddy day when I needed their help bringing cattle in to sort them into groups to haul to the pasture. It takes my boys twice as long to get the cows and calves to walk through the muddy lot into the catch pen, not because they are working hard, but because they are having too much fun throwing mud at each other with the 4-wheeler tires!

Typical boys, I guess. These kids have been helping me on the ranch since they were first born. Okay, they weren't much help as babies, but they did tag along with me on every ranch chore! They learned that some jobs are dirtier than others. But their most fun job (besides running the 4-wheelers in the mud) is hauling cattle to grass, I think. Everyone is needed and we drive three pickup trucks and three livestock trailers full of cattle to each pasture. It is important to make sure that each mama cow and her baby are taken to the same pasture, so we often have a couple of people doing the time consuming job of sorting them into groups, while three other people drive the trucks to deliver them.

These boys were on the "hauling crew" this year. They were technically old enough last year, as you can get a farmers permit driving license at 14 years of age in Kansas. Since they had older siblings, these boys usually were on the "sorting crew" in the past. This year each of them were entrusted with driving a truck and trailer full of cows or calves, by themselves to the pastures.
We put cows on two trailers and their calves on a separate, smaller trailer. So it is important that when we open the trailer doors, the mamas and their babies reconnect and realize that we did bring them both to the pasture. So the boys coordinate opening the trailer gates and letting cattle out.
This year, the grass if pretty lush and the cattle are very hungry for it, so they don't go very far when they are let out of the trailer! Sometimes it is harder to get the calves to stay around to reconnect with their mama than it is to have the cows pay attention to the calves. We have 10 pastures with 25 to 200 head of cattle in each. It depends on the size of the pasture as to how many head of cattle we put in each pasture. It takes a lot of coordination to make sure every cow and calf are paired up and hauled in a safe way to the pasture. It takes days of work sorting and hauling...and then the job still isn't done as I must keep track of which cow is in which pasture and which bull is with them in the pasture.

Once all the cattle are hauled out, we recheck each pasture to make sure everyone is where they should be and doing well.  This bull seems pretty proud of himself--he rubbed his head in a mound of dirt for "his girls." They seem very impressed!


  1. Thanks so much for sharing. Love how you explain the workings of your farm. It teaches and encourages me to strive for good farm management. Please keep posting

  2. I love it! It really makes me want to go play too!

  3. Fun photos of the farm. Love the bull!!

  4. Hello great post. We just let our cattle over to more rented land into a nice green pasture. I have photos on my blog if you want to check them out.
    I think it is great that in Kansas you can get a farmers permit at 14. We cannot do that in Canada at least not in Ontario. It is needed when it is busy we need every driver.
    I understand boys and mud I myself had 6 brothers but I love the mud too. Nice blog. B


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