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A day on the farm with Kaitlyn Dollens

September 7, 2012
By Kennedy Crigler of Centralia High School Activities

Kaitlyn Dollens seems like your average 17-year-old high school student. But when she’s not in school, she’s out on the farm working with her cattle. “Life on the farm is more simple,” Kaitlyn says.

Kaitlyn deals with two types of cattle, Angus and Charolais, and they range in colors of black, white, and grey. She would guess her cows weigh about 700 lbs. a piece. Her bottle calves weigh in at about 150 lbs., and her oldest bottle calf Spanky weighs in at about 900 lbs. But those weights are not anything compared to her bull who weighs in at about 1200 lbs. Kaitlyn does everything on the farm from putting down hay, dirt, and mineral to feeding and working with bottle calves. 

Kaitlyn actually loves bottle feeding her calves. She currently has three bottle calves and is working with them so eventually she will be able to show them. Kaitlyn didn’t have a choice when it came to raising cattle. She says, “As soon as I was able to walk, I was out there doing everything I could because my dad needed the extra help.” Kaitlyn didn’t expect to love working with cattle as much as she does. Kaitlyn has made her life revolve around her cattle even if her school and other socializing activities have to take the back burner. Kaitlyn is with her cows every day from the time school gets out to dinner time. Summers tend to be the same way; her cattle recieve most of her attention. But Kaitlyn doesn’t really have a problem with spending most of her time on the farm--she actually enjoys it.  She has been known to say, “You don’t have to worry about the cows starting drama with each other.” 

As great as life may seem on the farm, Kaitlyn does admit there are some difficulties out there. Although there is nothing she hates, she does claim that “when the mud is up to your knees and your mud boots come off, that's never fun.” The most stressful part of being out on the farm would probably be during calving season because she has to be prepared for anything like pulling a calf, finding dead cows and calves, and  worrying about the coyotes because they love to prey on the baby calves. Kaitlyn says, “The work is easy, but I’ve also been doing it my entire life. You can’t just throw someone into this lifestyle who has never worked out here a day in their life. You have to be raised in it in some way or another.” Kaitlyn does admit that she tends to bond with her cattle, especially the bottle calves.  She says, “When you’re with them every day and you’re spending more than half your time with them, it's hard not to become attached. They’re like over-sized dogs.” 

Kaitlyn does not just do what she does for the money or because if she doesn’t her animals are going to die, it’s also because she loves it. Kaitlyn has big plans for her future that includes cattle. She plans on taking over the family farm and becoming a large animal vet.

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