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Boot camp

Do you ever give much thought to where your weaner steers and heifers go when you load’em on the truck or take’m to the sale?

You think maybe it’s like goin’ off to college? Stay in the dormitory, have a nice roommate who doesn’t bawl or stay up all night talking about the cute Charolais they met in the cafeteria.

Maybe join a fraternity or sorority, Milka Dama Cow. Play intramural head butting, horn wrestling or pin the tail on the Holstein? They can learn a foreign language like Corriente, Water Buffalo or Emu. And eventually graduate Phi Beta Moo and go on to Hi Concentrate Feedlot Graduate School eventually attaining a Ph D in Hi Choice. Sounds idyllic, doesn’t it? Just like you imagine for your own kid going off to college. But the feedlot hands are reading this dreamy scenario like a drill sergeant listening to an Army recruiting ad; “Be all that you can be.”



A growing yard or feedlot is more like boot camp. No hallowed halls of ivy here. Does the name Powder River, WW or Bowman ring a bell? Indoctrination for recruits involves standing in line for hours, being shouted at and vaccinated for things you can’t pronounce. Sound familiar? The intimate dormitory sleeps 260.

Courses studied include Feed Ingredient Identification, Cowboy Outer Wear, Mud 101 and 102, and Hot Shot Evasion. Sports that are available for participation are Intramural Pneumonia, Find the Water Tank, Coughing Practice and Long Distance Diarrhea.



Within a month the successful recruits are moved up to a better class of grub from the mess hall kitchen and are left alone. So when you watch yer little weaners scamper on the truck with the untroubled mind of a high school graduate, remember their next few weeks are not gonna be easy.

But you can be comforted in the fact that almost all of them will get through boot camp and most of them will achieve knighthood; as in Sir Loin.

Whereas the most a weaner chicken can hope for is colonel.


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Baxter Black