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Nebraska Ranch Adventures

What is it like to visit a working cattle ranch? If you’d like to experience a western adventure, the Double R Guest Ranch LLC invites you to participate in seasonal ranch activities, which might include:

• Rounding up and moving cattle
• Checking windmills and fences
• Harvesting the hay and moving the bales
• Calving and feeding the cattle
• Vaccinating, testing and treating the cattle
• Shipping calves
• Branding calves
• Other miscellaneous activities


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You may wish to watch the round-up and/or the moving of the cattle. The cowboys may do this on horseback, with 4-wheelers, the pick-up, or all three. It may take half an hour, or half a day, depending upon the mood of the cattle. The cattle can be unpredictable. Prior to moving the herd to a new pasture, you might want to go along to help check the fences, gates, and windmills, and to put out mineral blocks and salt. The cattle and the windmills are checked on a daily basis. In the fall and winter the cattle are fed cake cubes and hay almost every day.

Rancher an amateur veterinarian
Most of the time, the rancher will do his own veterinary work because of the great distance away from town and the need to get some things treated quickly. That is why the rancher will always be watching for signs of sickness or disability in the herd. He or she will treat most illnesses without professional help. That usually will require getting the critter into the corrals where they will have a cattle chute available to hold the cow prior to treatment. Treatment can run to giving shots, oral meds, lancing sores, pulling calves, and a myriad of other possibilities

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Calving Time
During calving time, the rancher generally brings the cows to the pasture nearest the facilities. The pregnant cows (heavies, in “cowspeak,”) will then be checked by driving thru the herd 2-3-4-5 times a day and usually 1-2 times a night. This assures that help is available in case the cow is in need of delivery assistance. The rancher will sometimes have to pull a calf or perform a C-Section to save the cow and calf. Calving time in the sand hills is usually from late March thru mid-May. Although this is a busy time for all, it is probably the most fun and rewarding time to be a rancher. The baby calves cavort and play and torment their moms just like little children do. It is delightful to sit and just watch them.
Branding Time
During May and June, while the calves are still small enough to handle, the babies are branded. Generally, the area ranchers and their families gather to help each other roundup the cows and calves. Then the cowboys and cowgirls will sort the calves from their mothers, and they will rope and drag the calves to be branded, castrated, vaccinated, and dehorned. There will be several sets of ropers, and several groups of cowhands to brand, castrate, and vaccinate. As incredible as it sounds, this whole process will take only a few seconds to work each calf. The calf is then released back to its mother who has usually been watching the whole process from behind the barbwire fence.
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Social Time
With the business of branding done for another year, all thoughts turn to food! The meal is served by the neighborhood ladies, and what a meal it is! The tables groan with an abundance of foodstuffs. Almost always there is roast beef, done to perfection, heaps of mashed potatoes and gravy, veggies and salads, and gobs of homemade pies and desserts, and always a plentiful supply of beverages to please every taste. When the meal is over, the games begin. They will play horseshoes, the new game of sand hill golf, basketball, cards, or just have fun catching up on the latest happenings in the neighborhood.
Harvest Time
In July the meadows and some of the hills are harvested for hay. The hay is mowed, raked, and then put up in big round bales weighing upwards of 1100 pounds each. After the baling is finished, the hay is allowed to rest for a day or so and is then moved, usually a bale at a time, to higher ground for the reason that the meadows will quickly become too wet and spongy to drive upon. Also, the hay can become too wet and spoil if left on the meadow. In a few weeks the hay is then moved again into a stack yard. The stack yard is fenced off from the cattle to protect the hay bales for winter feeding time. The rancher will begin to feed the hay when the cattle can no longer obtain enough food from the hill grasses and cake cubes. The time to start haying the cattle depends upon the winter temperatures. Generally, they will get fed hay from December thru April and sometimes into May.
Round-up, Wean, and Sell
In the fall the cows and calves are again rounded up and the calves are weaned a few weeks prior to selling time. Then the rancher will sort off the calves he intends to keep for heifers, and the ones he intends to feed longer and sell later as yearlings. The rest will be trucked for sale at the local sale barns, or sold by private treaty to a buyer, or they may be sold by video auction on television. Thus, the cycle ends, and begins again, for another year. Days on the ranch are full of surprises and are usually quite busy and full of activities year round.


Double R Guest Ranch, LLC is a BBB Accredited Resort in Mullen, NE

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Call (866) 217-2042, or email today for reservations. You will find
that Sand hills, Nebraska’s Double R Guest Ranch, LLC is a perfect year round retreat for
sportsmen, couples, families, small groups, writers, star gazers, birders, hikers, fishermen or
other adventurous vacationers!

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