Ebersole Cattle Company

  (Kellerton, Iowa)
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Hospice House (Barn)

Well, this time of year is always hard on me.  One of the hard parts about Ranching & Raising Cows the way we do. 
What I mean by that is, we keep old cows.  Old cows eventually die. 
No two ways around it, everyone eventually dies.  Cows do too.

That being said.  What is "OLD" for a cow?  Most ranches cull their cows anywhere from 5-9 years of age.  They go to the sale barn, are bought by a packer & are made into hamburger.  Sometimes, if they are pregnant, a small farmer will buy them, calve them, & at the end of the year they will sell the open cows (for hamburger) and the calves.

We are different.  We are very different.  We keep our BEST cows their entire lives.  A cow that has produced great calves for us gets to live her entire life here on the ranch.

What makes her great?  Well, she could have produced bulls or heifers that we have sold at a premium or kept here on the ranch.  She was open (not pregnant) very few times while producing these good calves.  The great cows always get a second (or third) chance, and are kept even if they are open one year.

Today it was 7853.  She has been a great cow for us.  Before we bought her, she was shown 2 years at the Denver Stock Show.  She has raised several great calves for us.  We have 3 or 4 of her females in our herd and  we've sold several bulls she raised.  Three years ago she stifled herself.  What this means is that she hurt her hip ligaments & couldn't walk very good.  We contemplated culling her.  But, she had been a good cow & if we culled her, we wouldn't get very much at all.  So, she stayed.

She lived her life @ the home ranch & was babied a little (ok, alot).  She had great grass in the summer.  In the winter she lived in the "baby" or heifer pen.  This pen eats the best hay all winter & doesn't have to travel to get water.  They have access to the barn & extra  shelter when they are outside.

But, everyone gets old & most of us go downhill, & then we die.  7853 did.  She was born in 1995.  Wow, in "Cow Years" she was REALLY old.  15 is an amazing age for a cow.

Honey & I were pretty upset early this morning when we found her down. We consoled ourselves with the fact that we had given her 3 more years than most any other ranch would have.  She raised 2 more outstanding heifers for us.  She was fat & happy & ate great grass for 3 extra years.  Well, really about 8 extra years if you figure we should have culled her when she was 6 or 7.  It took a little extra work to care for her, but it WAS worth it. 

This morning, I took her water & some extra good hay.  She drank very little & munched on the hay a bit.  But, we both knew that once an old cow goes down like this, she usually doesn't get up.  I was with her for an hour & let her be for a bit.  When I went back out, she was gone. 

This time of year is really hard for me!  But, I console myself with the fact that I love my animals, literally till thier end.

Just remember there are tons of other ranchers out there just like me, caring for their cattle every day, no matter what God & the Weather brings them.

I've been thinking about Gilmer Dairy's e-Dopt a cow program.  Would anyone be interested in e-Dopting a beef cow.  We currently have 5 old cows that will live her for the rest of thier lives, wether they raise a calf or not.


Kelsey the Cow, She shows how well we REALLY take care of our cows!

Kelsey, (the red, horned cow pictured) is 17 years old this year.  That may not seem old to you.  But the average age of a cow is 6 years old.  Most cows are culled at or before age 8.  A 10 year old producing cow is amazing!

So, Kelsey being 17 is un heard of!  I will admit that this year Kelsey is open (not pregnant).  She has produced 13 calves.  Wow.   She has definately earned her keep.  Here at the Ebersole Cattle Co that means that she has earned her keep for the rest of her life.  She will get to live out her days "Happy as a Cow" on the pastures of our ranch.  She is in a special pen this year, so that she can get extra feed & be extra comfortable.  Her only job is to "train" the younger heifers to come to me when I call them, or shake a bucket.

Kelsey is also our "Lead Steer Cow" when we drive the cows to and from pasture.  She has been around so long that she knows where we are going.  She knows that when we get there, we will have fresh pasture or treats!  Kelsey will also hop in the trailer if you leave the trailer gate open.  She knows that a trailer ride means new feed, or a new bull, or going home for the winter.  It might also have a little grain in it.

Needless to say, Kelsey isn't our only old cow.  We have about 15 cows that are older than 10.  They all get a little extra hay in the winter, but they are all pretty fertile.  We only had one other old cow come up open.  She is also 17, but pretty Camera Shy.

If you want to know how well a cattlemen is doing, take a look at their cows, they will tell you!

Shanen - Momma to the Mama cows at the EbersoleCattleCo


ps, our new website is up and running (well walking, I'm adding new stuff each day!)




Great Bulls, Even better cows!

Wow! What a day! Yesterday, we pregnancy checked our cows.  What this means is that we worked them through the chute and our veterinarian checked if they were pregnant, and thier estimated due date.

WELL, the news was great!  We checked 65 of our spring calving cows and only had 4 open cows!  That is pretty good!  Especially considering that 2 of the open cows were 14 and 12 years old.

This means that Lenny, IS a great bull, he bred all of the cows possible, and made them pregnant!!  We did try to Artifically Inseminate about 45 of these cows, but the rate of conception with AI is usally about 70-80% so Lenny had the opportunity to breed lots of cows this summer.

This also means that our cows were healthy and happy, so they were ready to breed, while nursing large calves.

So, I'm glad to say that we won't have too much extra hamburger, and we will have ots of beef calves growing for next year.

If you think you might be interested in beef next summer and fall, drop me a line, and we'll save a calf to finish just for you!

You can get pictures or stories about your calf.

Hope you have a day as happy as mine is!  (I don't have to sell too many cows because they're open!!)  I'm still trying to find a little pasture to keep our old cows, and let them live out their life because they've been so productive and helpful for the Ebersole Cattle Co and our family!

Shanen - Momma to the Mama cows at the Ebersole Cattle Co


Our new website is almost done, so if you'd like take a look, but remember, I'm still working on it!!




Snowstorm survived!

WOW!! Mother Nature sure hit us good this week!! It was really hard to get an accurate measure with all the wind and blowing, but I believe that we had just over 12 inches of snow on Tuesday.   Then Mother Nature had fun blowing it around and dropping temperatures on Wednesday and Thursday.

The calves that were weaned this last weekend all made it through ok.  We rolled out hay & put some soy-hull pellets in a creep feeder for them to eat.  The cows weaned pretty good too, they've all stopped bawling and moo-ing!  That makes the nights a little easier to sleep!  Because, I'm always nervous during weaning that a cow will make a hole in the fence and everyone will follow her out of the hole and run loose in our road.  (Nevermind that we couldn't get any traffic because we were snowed in!)

Beau tried to make it to town on Wednesday & was stuck two times in 3 miles.  Needless to say, he turned right around and came home!  He did make it in to town on Thursday and bought new batteries for our truck.   It was gelled with dead batteries in the driveway.

Some of our pipes froze in the house on Thursday and we had the cow-waterer freeze up too.  Our high temp on Thursday was 12.  With a 25 mile an hour wind. BRRRRR!

All the water is thawed and we now have new heat tapes installed, so we hopefull won't be repeating our experience.

But, the world IS beautiful with this fresh coat of snow, and all of the cows and calves made it through healthy and happy!

We do take two beef to be harvested on Tuesday too!

I hope you are all safe and warm!

Shanen, Mama to the Momma cows at the Ebersole Cattle Co


The Cows Came Home

Yes, the cows came home!

They had a little encouragement, with me honking (calling) them in the Jeep & leading the way.  Beau & Chilli (the dog) followed and brought up the stragglers.  They followed me the mile to the corral nicely.

We held them in a portable corral while we sorted & hauled them the 7 miles home.

Once we had them in the corrals at home, we sorted the spring calves off and weaned them.

The late fall pairs will be sorted off tomorrow and turned out on grass with Lenny (the bull).  He'll be happy to have a couple more girlfriends for a while & it will keep him busy and out on pasture.

Next week we'll take all the spring calving cows to some rented corn stalks for a couple of months.

I hope y'all had a great weekend.  We did!  It might be work, but we enjoy working with our family!

Beef goes to town next tuesday, if you would like any fresh beef, drop me a line & I'll you know what we have available.

Merry Christmas!

Shanen, Momma to the Mama cows at the Ebersole Cattle Co



Lenny the Bull is Lonely

Life on the ranch is good if you're an Ebersole Bull.  Lenny is our top herdsire (Bull).  He is 6 years old this year.

Lenny was born here on the Ranch.  Lenny was actually a bottle calf.  He was the first calf for a very good looking heifer.  He was delivered without any problems, but sadly, the heifer hemmoraged & died.  So, we had a little bottle calf.  Lenny was a great little calf & drank from a bottle right away.  He thrived & would follow us anywhere.  When the time came to sell him, I couldn't.  I was too attached!  My husband tried and tried to convince me that keeping this calf for a bull would not be good, because he was a pet & could be too aggressive as a full grown bull.  But, he was my calf & he was a GOOD calf.  He grew amazingly well for being a bottle calf & he was bred great too!

Since we didn't sell him, and another sire died, he was turned out into the pasture with some girls (cows).  He was out back up bull until 2 years ago and our oldest sire died.  WOW!! We missed the boat with Lenny.  Our first calf crop out of just him were amazing!!  So far we have had 2 State Fair Champions AND  2 American Royal Champions!  In addition, the rest of his calves have grown great and increased our weaning and yearling weights.

Lenny is still a pet.  One of our favorite Lenny stories is the day we were 20 acres from the house & saw that Lenny had a sore eye.  We had taken a the truck out to fix fence and check cows that day.  Of course when we checked the truck we didn't have a halter OR a rope. UH OH!  Wait....we do have an electrical cord!  Think it will work??  Welllll, it IS Lenny.  Lets try it.  Walked back to the bull.  Beau rigged u the cord like a rope and took two swings & caught him with a hoolihan (backwards swing)!  WOW!  The cord held when he tried to walk away too!  So we walked up to him & looped it around to make a halter.  Then the fun part.  Did I mention that at this time he was 4 years old & hadn't had a halter since he was weaned at 6 months??  And that we were down in a big gully?  Well, Lenny did great!  We led him out of the ditch and up the big hill and over the next 20 acres I walked him while Beau went the 4 miles to the house and grabbed the trailer.

Needless to say, Lenny is MY favorite bull!

Right now, Lenny is 20 feet from my window in the pasture, and has been pretty close all day.  Poor guy is bored.  All the spring calving cows have been bred for a while.  He was turned out with a group of Fall calving cows 2 months ago.  Now, he's ready to go the barn.  His hanging around the house is telling me that all the cows are bred.  I bet he's right. 

So, tomorrow morning, I will open the gate & Lenny will follow me (and my bucket) to the barn.  There he'll stay this winter with a nice warm shelter & as much hay as he wants. 

Yes, it is nice to be Lenny the Bull at the Ebersole Ranch!

If you are interested in some great beef, we are now taking reservations for summer harvested beef.  Send me a note to ebersolecattleco@yahoo.com

THANKS!! And I hope you enjoyed my Lenny story!

Shanen, Momma to the Mama cows at the Ebersole Cattle Co



Good Help- Ground Beef Specials

Well, we live in the middle of nowhere.  When I drive out to go check cows, this is my view for about 2 miles.


I enjoy living out in the country, but it is hard to find good help.  But, having a family farm, means that I DO have some help.

My help is little right now, but they're learning!  My Cowgirl is great.  She can open gates, and with the help of a good dog, she can move cows pretty good!

These are the happy beef out in our pasture!  These cows and calves live the good life!! They get to graze and walk and move to new pasture each week.

Now is the time of year when we are harvesting GROUND BEEF!  So, I have put some of our Ground Beef Bundles on SPECIAL!!  I have added some new bundles of 50#.  If you live in Iowa or within 50 miles of any Iowa Border, I will ship your beef for free (you have to call me).

If you do call my cell, I might even throw in a discount for a reservation of a Refrigerator Sized Bundle of ALL Steaks this week.  Call me and reserve your Winter BEEF Quarter this week.  I'll make it worth your time!

Enjoy the view!  I get to see it first hand, as I go check cows.

Shanen-Mama to the Momma-Cows at the Ebersole Ranch


Moving Cows

We moved cows the other day.  I thought that I would share some of the beautiful views.  This is one of my most favorite views on the earth.  Cows out front moving together to new fresh grass.


Beau is on a Quarter Horse we raised "Ozzie" who is King P234 bred, and I am on Dakota Red Buck (our Stud).  'Koda was pulled out of the mare band just one hour before this picture was taken.  He hadn't been ridden much this spring and not at all since April when the first colts were born and he was let out with the mares.  He was an awesome horse to ride and has tons of cow!!

We grouped these cows from about 130 acres and then pushed them through another  60 acre Timber area and through a creek to the hilltop.   We like to walk the cows and once an old cow finds the gate, she usually remembers where they are going.  This is really important because we added about 20 new cows to this group, and they took a while to group up near the gate.  But, once they did, it went well.

It was a little slow going, because a new calf was born that morning.  He was up and going, but a little wobbly and his umbilical cord was still a little wet.  Mama-Cow did NOT want Beau to put her baby on his horse, and was a little aggressive about it.  So, we walked her slowly and he kept up pretty good.  We tried again to sneak the baby up, for a ride, but again, Momma-cow was having none of it.



I hope you enjoy our little cattle drive.  It was fun!!  This next picture is the best view you can get from the back of a horse.  Cows walking to the next pasture in a nice neat group.

We still have a few Refrigerator Bundles available.  And we are now accepting reservations for Winter Harvested Beef Quarters and Halves.


Drop me a note at Ebersolecattleco@yahoo.com to reserve your beef now.

Have a great day!!

Shanen- Momma to the Mama-Cows at the Ebersole Ranch













Show Time!

It's summer Show Time! We always have a couple of really great heifers to show at some shows through the summer.


Here is my oldest little Cowgirl with her heifer "Freedom".  This picture was taken at her very first show a couple of weeks ago.  They were named Grand Champion New Calf Crop.

This year we will also have a Fall born bull at the Iowa State Fair.

We'll have tons of fun showing our animals and helping our kids learn.  Right now, my Cowgirl gets up at 5am and goes outside with her Dad to wash her heifer and feed her every day.

I think that this kind of dedication to our animals and hard work will serve her well in her future.

If any of you are coming to the Iowa State Fair, drop us a note so that you can come pet a calf or meet us and reserve your Winter Beef now.

We have 3 beefs that have not been spoken for yet, and we will reserve now for Winter Delivery (you can pick a date from November thru February).

I hope y'all are enjoying your summer and having fun in the sun!!


Pasture time - SALE

The cows are out on pasture.  First, sorry I took a little time-out from blogging.  The business aspect of moving the Ranch has gotten to me, and stolen all of my time.

We had our first real snow here in southern Iowa this Sunday.  It was beautiful!  However, as you know, I don't like cows and claves in dry lots.  It makes for sick critters, and since we don't use antibiotics, we don't like to do it.  So, out they went.  All of 'em.  They love it!  They run and play and have fun foraging thru the snow.  They bed down at night in the deep grass, and down into a low spot with trees.  It is so pretty at night with all of the white snow reflecting the dark cattle bedded down into it.

It is also fun, because that means that I get to call the cows in to feed  and check them.  In the pasture, I shake and bang buckets together and call "come BAAAAASSSS".  Once the first cow hears me, she sticks her head in the air and bellows.  Everybody looks, and starts coming for me.  Some at a run and others slowly ambling along.  After a few days, they get smart and start to run,  because I only feed two to three buckets, and the "pigs" eat the biggest share.   Then the work begins.  Any cow that doesn't come up, gets checked.  If I have my munchkins with me, out in the truck we go, if not, maybe a horse.  Mostly the other cows are just relaxing and enjoying the pasture. No sick or hurt ones yet!

Now, for a short note on the business side of things.   One of the most heartwrenching things for me is taking calves to the sale barn.  I don't like it!  It is conventional farming at it's worst!!  The calves are penned with other calves to be sold together.  Then, after they are sold, they're pushed in semi-trucks with strangers to go who knows where, and be fed in whatever way is cheapest.  The heifers are implanted (hormone implants in their ears) to keep them from cycling, and the steers are implanted to keep them growing like bulls. (I HATE IMPLANTS!! and I rarely use that word).  Then they are shipped again and sent to a packing house and harvested and handled very disrespectfully.

So, this is what I've been trying to figure out.   How do I expand my beef production, so I can keep everyone that doesn't meet the quality to be kept as a cow or a bull?

So, ITS SALE TIME!!!  I would love for this to work!!!  I want to sell shares of 8 more calves by the time we have to take them to market in the beginning of January.  Please, if you are at all interested in the highest quality, most humanely raised beef possible e-mail me.  I will be selling ground beef for a 10% discount, and beef shares for a 15% discount.

I also lowered our base prices to reflect the current markets.  Hurry, before markets go back up, and I have to cave to my husband and increase them again.

I have also made a great "buy-as-it-grows" plan.  You would place a small down payment and recieve some ground beef at that time (to give you a great tase of what's to come) and then you would make installment payments as the beef grows.   This will allow me to make our farm payment in January and pay for feedstuffs as we need them.  I think this arrangement would work best for all of us.  And most importantly to me (and the calves), I won't have to take these calves to the sale barn!

I know that you want the highest quality beef.  So don't go to the store, come to the producer.  That way, you get the best value, and the calves will get the best care!

I hope to hear from you, and find a beef package that meets your needs and budget.   ~Shanen



Why God says it isn't good to scare your wife.

 Yes, this is a story from Sunday's Moving cows and yes, Beau was taught a lesson.  But it was Very Funny, (at least I can admit it now).  And of course, you can laugh!  I always do!

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The cows are HOME

Well, if you have read my first two blogs on Local Harvest you know that we have moved our Ranch this summer.  Our new barn has been built for some time, and the corrals have been built for a month.  Everyone around here kept asking what we were going to use that BIG barn for.  We kept telling them for the calves and colts.  They would look at us with a question and ask if we had any cows.  You see we have not had ANY cattle on this farm except for the bulls (and they were only here for 1 month).  None of our new Ringold County neighbors had ever seen us with any cattle at our homeplace.  The cows have been at the rented pasture this summer.

As I told you on Friday, we moved the cows home this weekend.  We did it!!  All by ourselves.  Beau had to work in town on Saturday, so we just got everything set up.  We set up the portable corral at the pasture and fed the cows in the corral.  This convinces them that this is a good place to be! ; ) 

Sunday morning bright and early we loaded up the kids, and the dogs and off we went.  Our rented pasture is only 15 miles from the house, so it is a short trip.  We arrived at the pasture, and made our plan.  I would take the 4-wheeler out and around the pond to move the cows to Beau and he would "call" the cows into the corral.  Well, he had more luck than I did.  He locked up ~25 while I was still on the other side of the pond. 

I made my sweep around the pond with the dogs close behind.  The cows weren't happy about being woken up early and were slow to go to the corral.  I managed to push in another 25 or so.  Then it gets tricky!  The last cows are ALWAYS the worst.  They don't want to go in and the want to run and chase.  We decided to haul a load home and bring the horse.

We are able to haul about 10 calves and 12 cows each trip.  Made the trip and arrived back at the pasture with the horse.  This time we switched, I was calling and Beau was pushing on Ozzie (the horse).  We made a sweep and not one cow came in.  We put the 4-wheeler away (I hate those things!) and tried again and cought 5 pairs.  We were both severely frustrated and decided to haul some more cows home. 

We made another 3 trips (I will tell you a funny story about one of theese trips later this week) and we got LUCKY!  The crazy(mean, ornery and taking the rest far, far, away) cow was standing in the gateway.  We were VERY sneaky and we finally got her locked up!!!!  YEEE HAAA!  Unfortunately it was dark and we were done for the night, but they were all locked up at the pasture and at the house. 

I LOVE our new facilities @ home.  We did not have to worry that the cows were going to go hunting for their calves and get out, we had easy fresh water and it was great!  After a long day and another long one to go we could still sleep easy.

If you enjoy these types of stories, leave me a note and I'll keep them coming. 

We did select some great beef calves that will be worked and weaned this coming weekend.  Please e-mail me to reserve your shares.  I think we have 4 whole shares left, so please let me know and I can put your name on a calf.

I will have that funny story from Sunday and the story of Monday later in the week.

Shanen : ))

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