Healthy cattle produce safe, healthy, high-quality beef. Raising this kind of beef, day after day, year after year is our measure of success. It's our life's work. With experience accumulated by taking care of cattle in one way or another our entire lives, and the passion for continually learning how to do it better, we have high standards for cattle care on our ranch and feedlot. That means we are invested on a daily basis in the health of the cattle. We aren't sitting in an office miles away and our attention is on the cattle and what they need 24/7/365.
While there is a lot that goes into taking care of cattle and keeping cattle health a top priority, a couple of topics bubble up in peoples' minds because they perceptively intersect with human health.
On Growth Promoting Hormones
The majority of the cattle in the feedyard are custom fed - meaning we don’t own them, other ranchers trust us to get their cattle to slaughter weight in great health and condition. Cattle at the feedlot are typically given an FDA-approved, small pelleted implant with a low dose of hormones that allow them to convert feed to lean muscle more efficiently. This has been a common practice, safely in use since the 1950s.
The directly marketed beef available through this site however, comes from cattle that are not given hormonal implants. This choice simply satisfies some customer preferences so we are happy to offer it.
Our approach is to do everything that we can to avoid using antibiotics, however antibiotics are a tool in animal health and sometimes a necessity. As caretakers of these animal, we refuse to withhold treatment to be able to claim every animal we raise is “antibiotic free”. We are unwilling to make an animal suffer when antibiotics are the right tool to use. What we can guarantee is that cattle are only treated when necessary and that they are treated under a Veterinarian’s consultation and prescription.
All antibiotics have a strict withdrawal period that must be adhered to before the animal can be harvested. We adhere to these labels (as do all ranchers and feeders) and are legally prohibited from shipping cattle to harvest prior to the label directed withdrawal period. This guarantees that there are no antibiotic residues in beef.
Antibiotics are a valuable tools in animal health, which makes them expensive. The expense and value of antibiotics alone defies the myth of overuse. While we do not relish using them for treatment, we do when it's the right thing for a sick animal. We are invested in making sure antibiotic resistance is combatted through proper use because they are such a valuable tool to restore health in sick cattle. There are only a few antibiotics used in cattle health that are in the same class as those used in human medicine and our industry collaborates with groups such as One Health Washington to study and come up with solutions for antibiotic resistance.
When we do need to treat sick cattle, we keep track of it on the individual animal and herd levels. Specific treatments and dates are recorded through Electronic Identification tags (EID). This is an important technology that allows us to know and understand the health and needs of each animal. It prevents the possibility of shipping an animal that has received an antibiotic prior to the specific withdrawal period.
It also allows us to measure and track herd health trends. The health history of any animal we raise can be called up by our software in a few seconds, giving us the information we need to do our job. Just like other professionals, we use data to spot areas where we can improve. Our main goal is to prevent sickness before it can have an impact and require antibiotic treatment.
Preventing Animal Disease
Preventative measures range from keeping pens, water, and feed clean, to minimizing pests with predator flies. We also practice low stress handling techniques that help keep the cattle as calm and comfortable as possible. We take classes on it and have our employees trained by experts in the field. These low stress handling techniques range from using only cowboys on horseback to check the cattle each day, to attending seminars on “reading” cattle so that we read their body language to tell us how they are feeling.
We are living and raising cattle in an exciting time in terms of what we understand about cattle behavior and care taking. An animal that is stressed will get sick easier, will take longer to finish, and the beef won’t grade as well. All things that mean we aren’t doing our job properly. It’s our job and our priority to take great care of our own cattle and the cattle entrusted to us for finishing.
The cattle at Post 5 Cattle Co. are managed and cared for by us personally and the help of just a few employees. Our daily goal is to do the right thing for the animals, our customers and everyone who eats beef. We are passionate about raising beef cattle and it’s our goal that it is apparent in our operations and the product 100 percent of the time.