Mary Marsh begins work with Perry Cattle Company

Feeders, fences, and dams.

This week at Perry Cattle Company, I got to spend a lot of time in the saddle, moved feeders and helped get equipment ready for cutting hay.

I started keeping a To-Do list with me. This has helped keep me on track for what needed to be done, especially since I am new and am still trying to learn where everything is.

We began the week with moving feeders. I would use a chain to hook up these long troughs to the 4-wheeler and would pull them to the next field. Then I would pour mineral into the troughs and made sure there was a salt block in each.  The mineral that we use has bovatec, which helps the cattle with nutrient absorption. Later that day, I pulled out the boards and tarps that we used for dams in the irrigation ditches. It was a muddy and humid extravaganza, but that just made it extra rewarding when I finished.

The next day, I got the chance to test my saddling skills because we were going to move cattle. I almost got the saddle on all by myself, but then right at the end, I needed help. Next time, saddle…next time. We had to do some last minute irrigation work before heading off to go move said cattle. I was not very comfortable moving cattle next to the highway. Thankfully, the horse, Sam, was under control. I really enjoy getting to ride and move cattle. I did not grow up with horses and would jump at any chance to ride. Now, to have it be a part of my job is incredible. I still have a long ways to go before I am a confident rider, but everyday, I get a little better. In the afternoon, I went back to go try and get the electric fence to work. We were getting as charge of 1.9, the desired charge is 3.0 and up. After going down the fence, I thought I saw the problem. One of the splices was touching a t-post. I carefully fixed it, but that still did not solve the problem.

Wednesday, I moved the mineral feeders to the next pasture. I got really frustrated because I could not find one the feeders I had set out. Can I still use the “I am a new” excuse? I was then reassigned to help Jeff patch the gated pipe again and make sure the balers and rake were ready for action. I ran the grease gun, which made me fondly remember back home getting equipment ready for almond harvest. By the time I was done, I am not sure how much grease I got on the equipment because I was covered head to toe!

Thursday was redemption day for saddling the horses. The cattle we had just moved the other day had gotten loose which meant we needed to ride the horses and get the cows back where they belonged and fix the fence. Using my four-wheeler, I moved the horses out of the pasture, I caught Sam, then I saddled him without any help. Sam was being a pill. He was not listening to me and would not do what I asked. I got really frustrated so then I got to use a four-wheeler. We changed the electric fence charger and that worked a lot better. We got a charge of 4.0!  We went back to the ranch and moved the heifers that will be getting spayed the next day in a pen off to themselves.  In the afternoon, I pulled more dams, and helped Jeff with the other electric fence.

Friday was a really great day, I got to run the rake! I really enjoyed getting to drive tractor because I have driven tractors for many years and it was familiar.

I am excited to start my third week here and I am happy with learning so much!

Published by is a visit to the day-to-day lives of America’s original animal welfare advocates and environmentalists.

One thought on “Mary Marsh begins work with Perry Cattle Company

  1. What a great experience! The reality of livestock ranching is very different from crop farming, with each having its own uniqueness. I hope each of those college students enjoy and appreciated the opportunity and the challenges from their summer work.

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