Turner Bison Exchange

Fawn Lake Ranch

Fawn Lake Ranch

fl.jpg

Location - Gordon, Nebraska

Acquired - 1999

Size - 63,792 acres

Females Exposed - 1162

Cow to Bull Ratio - 11:1

Maximum Bull Age - 5 years


Management Overview

Fawn Lake Ranch is a 63,792-acre property located in the western Sandhills of Nebraska.  The ranch consists of gently rolling to choppy dunes, dozens of lakes and ponds, over 50 miles of streams and large wetland-meadow complexes.  Low Stress Stockmanship is a key tool in the management of all range and bison at Fawn Lake. The mission of Fawn Lake Ranch is to raise bison in a sustainable and profitable manner while maintaining and restoring the Sandhills ecosystem and promoting endemic species.

Breeding Herd

Fawn Lake’s breeding herd is managed as a single herd, grazed on native range year-round in a deferred rotation system through a series of 27 pastures ranging from 500-6,300 acres.  A natural salt block is offered to the breeding herd throughout the year to encourage herd distribution in less utilized areas.  Supplemental feed such as grass hay and a grain-free cake are only received by the breeding herd at a small window of the year during November works.  Pregnant cows and breeding bulls are vaccinated for Mycoplasma and wormed annually.

Breeding age females that are not bred are culled from the herd on normal years.  Calves are weaned and receive vaccinations for Mycoplasma, Brucellosis (heifers only) 7-way, virashield, and wormer.

Calves / Yearlings

Bull and heifer calves are managed as a single herd post weaning.  They are fed grass hay and a grain free protein cake for 2-5 weeks while held near the corrals.  During this time, we expose these animals to driving as a herd, using gates, and acceptance of human presence as a positive thing. This enables us to move the herd through a series of 21 meadow pastures varying in size from 60-190 acres using a 3-wire fence throughout the year.  Natural salt blocks are offered to the yearlings in some pastures to enhance grazing distribution. Replacements are selected from this herd in December at 18 months of age based on their average daily gains on grass.

Summary

Fawn Lake Ranch utilizes bison to maintain the unique landscape it encompasses.  Our bison are well suited to the environmental extremes that they face while still being highly productive and easily handled.   

Health

Fawn Lake had a Mycoplasma outbreak in early 2006, but there has been no outbreak since.