Latest articles


Patience is key for easy cattle handling

Stay calm, stay quiet and let cattle think it through for themselves

Cattle are smart and adaptable, learning from their mothers and the environment around them. They respond to good handling by becoming easy to manage. Mishandled, they react with suspicion or fear when they see people, and can become “wild” and difficult to handle. Many ranchers are learning the value of low-stress handling and how easy […] Read more


Cold weather or not, fencing continued

Rancher's Diary: Extra attention including tube feeding couldn’t save premature calf

February 22 A week ago it snowed and was windy and cold. Jim finished packing his truck and drove to California where he has a couple of months worth of work fixing fences and remodelling some buildings for a friend. We moved the yearling bulls from the orchard to the little back pen, and created […] Read more



Four generations of Withington Creek writers

Family Tradition: Ranch life has always been an inspiration for Smith Thomas family

I’ve been writing for Grainews for more than 40 years, starting when I was a young ranch wife with two small children. I’d been writing articles for a few horse and cattle magazines to help pay the bills, and was grateful for another “market” for my work. My writing career began early, thanks to my […] Read more


Treating colicky bloat in calves

Calf Management: Timeliness is critical and treatments are no guarantee

In some herds, calves die nearly every year from enterotoxemia caused by bacterial toxins. The calves are usually about a month old, but may be as young as a few days or as old as two to three months. They are generally healthy, fast-growing calves that suddenly develop acute gut pain, kicking at their belly […] Read more



Tips on getting a newborn calf breathing

Hanging them upside down doesn’t work and can make things worse

There are many traditional practices and old wives’ tales about how to get a newborn calf breathing — some of which are valid and helpful, and some that are not. Cody Creelman, with Veterinary Agri Health Services (VAHS), a five-veterinarian beef cattle practice at Airdrie, Alta., says there are a few practices that are actually […] Read more


Winter brings a mixed bag of weather

Rancher's Diary: Ice, snow and even rainy conditions make chores challenging

January 28 We’ve had cold nights this past week. I’m glad we’re no longer calving in January. I finished revisions and updates for the new edition of my book Storey’s Guide to Training Horses. The thick ice on our lane and Andrea’s driveway is slippery and treacherous, making it tricky to get up and down […] Read more



Be leery about buying fat bulls

It may look good in the sale ring, but too much fat can lead to permanent damage

Most of the bulls that go through a sale ring are over-conditioned to some extent. Fat is beautiful because it covers up a lot of conformational faults, but it is also very detrimental for reproduction, good health, and future soundness. Many young bulls have gone through a bull test/feeding program to measure rate of gain […] Read more


Important tips for pulling a calf

Have chains properly positioned; be gentle with the calf puller

Some calves are injured at birth by improper pulling methods, says Cody Creelman, a veterinarian with Veterinary Agri-Health Services (VAHS) in Airdrie, Alta. Most ranchers know when preparing to pull they should use a double half-hitch when placing chains on the calf’s legs. The correct setup should also include one loop mid-cannon and the other […] Read more



Fixing fractures in cattle is doable

Early attention to treatment can often get the critter back on its feet

Accidents happen. Sometimes a cow steps on her calf, breaking its leg, or a limb fractures due to extensive or improper pressure applied during a difficult calving. Veterinarian Eric Laporte, with the Bonnyville Clinic at Bonnyville, northeast of Edmonton, says he doesn’t see as many dystocia-related fractures now as in the past, due to better […] Read more


cow and calf

Hard to beat the value of good colostrum

Calf Management: Watch for blood infections such as septicemia

Calves sometimes develop systemic infection in which bacteria or their toxins get into the bloodstream and travel throughout the body. Some types of toxin-forming bacteria (usually gaining entrance to the body via the GI tract, after damaging the gut lining and slipping through it) cause rapid death. The calf goes into shock when internal organs […] Read more