If the pastures in Big Cypress and Brighton seem a little less crowded lately, it isn’t because the cattle are staying socially distant from one another.
It’s because annual calf shipping took place in July and 60 cattle owners sold 3,665 calves.
The animals were sent to feedlots around the country, where they will spend nine or 10 months eating. When they reach about 1,350 pounds, they will be sent to market.
It took 36 truckloads to move all the animals. The multilevel cattle trucks can hold between 80 to 100 animals, depending on their weight. The average weights of the calves ranged from 487 to 529 pounds each.
The annual two-week shipping event marks the end of a year in which the calves were raised, cared for and sold.
Owners in Brighton gathered at the marsh pens from July 6-11 where the calves were sorted according to weight. Big Cypress owners shipped their cattle from the cow pen from July 13-16.
On each reservation, some replacement heifers were kept to build up the herds.