Spring is here, and in an agricultural region, an iconic image that heralds this season is baby livestock of all kinds. Here in Chaffee County, as one travels the county roads, this is most easily seen in the pastures of local cattle ranches, where you’ll find herds of momma cows and their calves, frolicking, nursing, resting in the sunshine. The Hutchinson Ranch is no exception.
Although ranching practices have evolved over time, the heart of ranching has always been caring for animals, producing food, and stewarding the land. New techniques and technologies have made some ranching jobs easier, and yet, many of today’s ranching tools and skills, especially in the high country, are the same as they were over a hundred years ago when the Hutchinsons began ranching.
The year begins with late winter calving when ranchers keep an around-the-clock watch on their pregnant cows and take care of the calves once they are born. Abby Hutchinson’s (6th generation) herd started calving the end of January, and they are almost done, which Abby states is record time this year! In late spring, new calves are gathered and branded before being moved with their mothers to fatten up in higher mountain pastures. Like 100 years ago, before summer fully arrives, fences will be checked, ditches cleared and pastures prepared for irrigating and growing hay.
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Also this year, Abby is arranging a workday to invite people to help clear ditches to prepare for irrigation season. If you would like to follow in the footsteps of the Hutchinson Family, and participate in a tradition that goes back to the very earliest days of ranching in Chaffee County, please email Hutchsalida@gmail.com.
Be a part of a lasting agricultural tradition and participate in Spring on the Ranch!