HARDIN, Mont. – A sow on the Herman ranch that had a run-in with a porcupine a few weeks ago is recovering well after Lamont Herman pulled the quills from her snout.
“She is doing better. I got an extendable rod with a syringe from the vet and gave her some sedative. I was able to rope her and restrain her while I used some pliers to pull the quills out. So she will be okay, but I’m not her favorite person right now,” he said.
The sow is part of a project the Herman children have to raise meat for the family’s direct-marketing business and storefront in Billings under the label Montana Prime Meats. The sow has 11 piglets she is nursing.
“She did lose quite a bit of weight from the whole thing and is kind of slab-sided now,” Lamont noted. “We figured out that the porcupine had been coming in to eat the grain that dropped out of the self-feeder.”
Lamont said he came away from doctoring the sow with “minimal war wounds,” but also said, “I don’t ever want to do that again.”
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Cold temperatures at the ranch in late January had Lamont feeding the cows more heavily.
“We went from 40 degrees down to negative 25 last night, and we got around 10 inches of snow,” he said. “It is supposed to get back up to the 40s later this week. We haven’t had that kind of swing in temperatures for a long time.”
With the cold weather calling for more feed for the cattle, the Herman family also works some hearty wintertime favorites into their dinner menus. Meals from the Crockpot and pressure cooker are popular, but the family also enjoys trying out some different recipes that can be cooked on their Traeger barbecue.
“The other night we had beer mop on a brisket and left it on for 16 hours,” Lamont said. “We like to cook outside.”
Having a number of good recipes on hand is helpful for their meat store that is getting ready to feature a “sweetheart steak” – a cut of filet mignon and New York strip.
As an outfit that markets and promotes the sale of their own beef, Lamont is skeptical about a proposal that would increase the Beef Checkoff fee in Montana. Ranchers currently pay $1 per head to the Beef Checkoff program at the time of sale. The proposal being discussed would increase the fee to $2 a head.
“If one Checkoff didn’t do the job, why do we need another?” he asked. “We need to know what it is going to do for us.”