My father-in-law and my husband bought a hundred head of cows one year. It was a partnership deal, but when we unloaded them at the ranch they decided to split them fifty-fifty and each partner put his own brand on his half.
It was early spring, so some of the cows had babies, others were springers and several were dry. A couple of those dry cows looked barren to me. They not only didn’t have babies, I’d have bet that any bull daring to court those biddies would get kicked into the next pasture.
We put them in the water lot. Each guy picked a corral for his half of the cows, and I was the designated herd holder and gate opener. Sounds fairly simple, right?
Naturally, those barren cows hung around the edge of the herd, wanting out. After the tenth time I put them back in the herd because neither guy picked either cow, I figured it out. The cattle dividing had become a contest, each guy trying to outdo the other by choosing the best cows, thus having the better herd. Of course, NOBODY wanted those barren gals.
At first, the guys took their time and eased among the cattle, taking care to keep each mama with her baby if she had one and being careful not to chouse the springers because some of them looked ready to calve right away.
After a couple of hours the easy choices were gone – the cows with healthy calves by their sides, and the ones with the best beef-cow conformation —