Oklahoma woman’s dream of a raising Angus cattle began with by raising Holstein bottle calves
For Shanda Coppedge, the cattle business started out with long days and nights, and lots of bottles. For 12 years, she raised 375 Holstein bottle calves a year and from the money she earned raising calves, she started building a herd of black Angus cattle.
Ten years ago, she purchased her first Angus cow. Her herd now numbers more than 100 head. She picked Angus because they are easy keepers, keep their weight well through winter, and they are gentle and easy to work with.
Shanda is not the average farmer. Her cows have dark lavender ear tags and some come running when she calls their names. On a cold November morning, one of Shanda’s cows had twins, and one of the calves fell 15 feet off the edge of the bluff and rolled across Spring Creek. Shanda rescued her and took her to the house to try to warm her up. She got her dried off but the cow would not take her, so Shanda named her Pumpkin and raised her on a bottle. To this day when Shanda goes in the field and calls for Pumpkin she comes running and stands still for Shanda to brush her. Last spring Pumpkin had a calf and, of course, Shanda named her Pie.
Shanda and her husband Troy live near the town of Kansas in Delaware County, Okla. The farm is on edge of the Ozark Mountains with the beautiful Spring Creek winding throughout the property. Across the dirt road is Shanda’s neighbor, Eddie Douglas. He has 150 acres on the east side of the road and Shanda and Troy own 110 acres on the west side. The land has been a part of the Coppedge and Douglas families for many years. In fact, Eddie and Troy’s grandpas were great friends who grew up playing on the farm and swimming in the creek together.
To this day, Spring Creek plays a big part in their family traditions and community gatherings. It is not just a place where the cattle drink, it is place where family and friends gather to have cookouts and splash in the cool water after a long day in the hay field. The creek has been the place where their children grew up playing and taking creek bathes. If you stop by Spring Creek Angus Ranch, don’t be surprised if there is shampoo and conditioner on the banks of the creek.
Shanda grew up on a farm with a few bottle calves, horses and mules. She really didn’t dream of being a rancher when she grew up. When asked if she enjoys farm work Shanda said, “I love working the farm and I love staying busy and being on a schedule.”
Eddie works fulltime which keeps him very busy. He did not want his 150 acres to just sit so he and Shanda became business partners. Shanda takes care of the land and cattle at his place also. They have their meat processed at Cooks Processing in Miami, Okla. Eddie works on marketing and selling the meat to customers. Their Angus cattle are grass fed, and grain finished, all can be registered but not all are. They try to keep their bull calves longer before castrating them because it grows them out bigger. When selling their calves, they shoot for a weight of 550 pound. As for the bulls, they use natural cover all year which makes calving season spring and fall. Shanda has one cow that has had two sets of twins, the first year she named them Chaos and Confusion because she kept seeing one and not the other so she wasn’t sure if there were one or two calves. There is no confusion about the fact that with determination and hard work you too can turn babies and bottles into a cattle ranch.