Cattle

Cow and calf in field

We run a cow-calf operation, which means we have a breeding cow herd of about 300 cows that produce calves each year.  The cow herd is managed and the calves are raised and harvested for sale each year according to the same basic schedule that has been followed at Connolly Ranch for generations. We incorporate the best advances in land and herd management practices that support our core values of preservation, conservation, sustainability and quality animal care. But today we still depend on nature for a good year to bring the rains and abundant natural grasses just like our ancestors did in the 1870s.

Each year our Registered Black Angus Bulls are put out with the cow herd in December and January to breed the cows for a 2-4 month period depending upon whether it is the established cow herd or first calf heifers.  The gestation period for cattle is nine months, so calves are generally born in the fall from September through December.

Calves are gathered in January and February when they are branded, vaccinated for preventable diseases as recommended by current veterinary guidelines and ear tagged to provide visual identification in the field. The bull calves are also castrated to be steers. We do not give our calves any hormones, implants or sub-therapeutic antibiotics.Â

Through the winter and spring as the calves grow they are with the cows grazing only on the natural grasses on the open range.  In June when the natural grasses dry for the season, we gather the cattle and separate the Connolly Ranch Natural Beef calves from their cows for harvest and sale.

Gathering registered Angus bulls after breeding season

The only supplemental feed we provide our Connolly Ranch Natural Beef calves are salt blocks and locally grown hay that is generally provided only when we gather the cattle for marking in the winter and for sale late in the season. The amount of hay at the end of the season depends on the grass level and if it is a low rain or drought year. The hay the cattle receive is primarily locally grown alfalfa, but it is not organic.  However, because the calves are still on the cow and in the open range until just before they are sold around June, Connolly Ranch Natural Beef young yearlings will have consumed a small amount of hay.

Depending on the amount of grass for the season, the only other supplement we may use for the breeding cow herd is a mineral supplement that is put out for the breeding cow herd from about July – November after the calves have been harvested.  Because of the young age and small size of the newborn calves who are still on the cow during this period, it is unlikely that they will try any of this vitamin/mineral supplement that is in the field.

We maintain records of our cattle to ensure that any sick or injured animal that must be treated with therapeutic antibiotics or other medicines is separated out of the Natural Beef program and not sold as Connolly Ranch Natural Beef. You can have confidence that the beef you purchase will meet all specifications for Connolly Ranch Natural Beef.

Connolly Ranch Natural Beef is guaranteed to be:

  • Black Angus cattle
  • Locally grown – Born and raised only on Connolly Ranch, Tracy, California
  • All grass fed - Only grazing on open range land and never in a feedlot or given corn or grain
  • No additives - No growth hormones, implants, antibiotics or feed supplements containing animal by products