CHINOOK, Mont. – At Clear Creek Angus ranch in the north central region, tucked in amongst snowy hills and the majestic snow-topped Bear Paw mountains in the distance, the Crowley’s registered heifers and cows are lying on nice straw beds in the winter pasture, and walking around in the light snow.
That snow has slowly dissipated, and warmer weather has enveloped the valley, unusual for this time of year. But winter has just started in Montana, and everyone is familiar with Montana winters.
“The weather’s been really nice. We have had a lot of warm temperatures up to around 50 degrees in the daytime and 35-40 degrees at night,” said Teddy Crowley, who operates the seedstock and commercial Black Angus business with Sara, and their kids, Kruz, Jaxton, and Kane.
Warmer weather has helped with preparations for the 11th annual production sale at Clear Creek Angus in north central Montana, which is just around the corner. The production sale is slated for Monday, March 4, at Bear Paw Livestock in Chinook beginning at 1 p.m.
“We are working on the catalog for the sale, and meeting a lot of ad deadlines,” Teddy said.
He is also working on a progress report on the registered bulls in the sale.
“We’ll put the progress report on our website, on our Facebook page and we mail it out to those on our mailing list,” he said.
The progress reports contains such information as the bull’s registration number, his birth weight, weaning weight, current weight and average daily gain on test.
“It is all the data you would need on a bull to be able to look the bull over prior to sale day,” Teddy said.
The Crowleys run a bull test from the time the bull enters the feedlot at the beginning of October to the end of January, about 120 days.
Registered Angus bulls in the sale are gaining and performing well at the nearby Malta feedlot, where close attention to growing the bulls in the best way possible is the main focus.
“We took weights on the bulls Dec. 26, and the bulls were averaging a daily gain of 4 pounds,” he said.
Four pounds/day weight gain average is a very good average daily gain, but the warmer weather probably contributed to it.
With December’s mostly mild temperatures, at least for northern Montana, the bulls consumed their daily high roughage ration of chopped hay, corn silage, and distillers grains well.
“When it’s not 10 below or colder, the bulls aren’t using that energy just to keep warm,” Teddy said.
All the commercial cows have been brought down from their grazing pastures in the hills surrounding the ranch, and are being supplemented with hay.
“We gathered all the commercial cows in the hills, and brought them down to different areas around here,” Teddy said. They split the cows up into well-sheltered areas, where the Crowleys will still be able to get in with the tractor and Haybuster to grind hay and where the cows are able to get to the creek, which runs through all winter long and provides plenty of fresh water.
They have started cleaning up the sheds and fixing the corrals around the calving barn in time for calving.
“Calving starts in a couple of weeks for the registered heifers,” he said. They have been supplemented with hay and 2.5 pounds of cake so they are in good condition going into calving. “During calving, we check on the heifers every 2 hours if it is cold and every 2.5 hours if it is warm.”
Teddy gets help with checking on calving from his dad, Ted, and brother, Clint.
“It’s not so bad if we all work together,” Teddy said.
They still feed in the morning during calving, so they have the entire afternoon to complete chores around the ranch.
The Crowley boys have returned to school, which was a little difficult after a fun trip to the NFR in Las Vegas, and a long Christmas break, but both Jaxton and Kruz are excited about signing up for wrestling
Jaxton will be having a birthday party in the upcoming week and will be 7-years-old.