Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘branding calves’

We branded last weekend and it was good.  Of course it took me almost a week to find my camera again so that’s what took me so long to add this post.  It was in the pocket of an old coat along with a dozen nasty old ear tags.  I imagine some women find nice things like pretty gloves, scarves and even cash in their coat pockets – not me.  I have grubby ear tags and used surgical gloves for handling fly tags.  Oh well, that’s a small price to pay to get to see these little guys every spring.

This little guy was born just in time to get branded.  Can you see how excited he is?  Just look at that face, he has got to be a bull calf.

Everyone showed up for the fun and games.  Here’s Hubby with Dani & Dalton’s new puppy – Cleo.  She’s a cutie.  Everyone loves to help with branding.  Dalton & Dani came from up by Belle Fourche, Morgan came with 2 of his friends – Matt and Derek, and our neighbors John and Ellen stopped by too.  It’s a lot of fun!!!

Of course, this side of the family wasn’t near as impressed as the rest of us. 

But it was a day for puppies.  Along with Cleo we also had Turbo who is Matt’s puppy.  Cleo is a full blood Blue Heeler and Turbo (bless his cute little puppy heart) is a Heeler/Corgi cross.  There’s just something about those short-legged dogs.  I love them! 

That’s it – I’m going to have to steal one of these puppies.

That’s Dani (our favorite daughter-in-law) on Hubby’s new horse Smokey and Morgan (my baby) running the gate.  We were sorting off the cows so we could push the new yearlings in first.

Every time we work cattle we seem to draw an audience.  The older dogs – Casey and Steve watched at the gate, ready to jump in and help if someone needed them.  It may not look like it but both those dogs can squirt under that gate in a flash if they have to.  Although Steve doesn’t have to duck quite as far as Casey.

After the yearlings we did break for lunch – Honey glazed ham, baked potatoes, Grandma’s famous baked bean recipe, deviled eggs, Ramen noodle salad, tossed salad (lettuce and spinach from my garden), fresh pineapple (not from my garden), home-made bread, pickles and lots of desserts – carmel rolls, cheesecake, chocolate pie, Ellen’s banana cake and chocolate chip cookies.  Yum – Yum!

Then it was back to work.  That’s Dalton looking like he doesn’t want to get too close to that cow along with our neighbor John who ran the squeeze chute.  We gave the cows a shot to help the calves that are nursing stay healthy, and a dose of stuff on their backs to help control flies and parasites and basically just said “Hi.  How are you?”

Then we worked the calves.

The boys have developed a routine over the years.  Dalton worked at the head giving implants and checking for horns, while Morgan did the cutting (castrating).  Matt had to leave early but Derek helped push in calves and hold them down.  Derek’s a big kid and a football player.  This training serves him well when it comes to working cattle.  Those calves didn’t stand a chance.  John kept the branding irons hot while Dani, Ellen and I took care of ear tags, shots and record keeping.

I love watching our boys brand.  I remember all those years when they were too little to help and were forced to watch it all from the bed of the pickup.  I bet they would tell you this is much more fun.

Once we’re done with the calves we turn them out to go find their Mama’s who usually are right there bawling for their babies.  Can’t you just imagine what he’s telling his mother?  “Mom, where are you?  I don’t ever want to go back there again.  Mom, are all humans weird?  You’ll never believe what they did to me.  Mom, why do I have earrings?”

The last thing we did was to brand the new horse.  This is something that we don’t do very often.  Most horses are branded when they are young (and easier to handle).  First  Derek and Hubby tied him to the corral.  Smokey should have known something was going on then.

And when they covered his head with the black coat he should have ‘run like the wind’.  But he’s a good horse and he took it like a man.  At least until the red-hot brand touched his hide.  Then he let us know he wasn’t pleased.  You can’t blame him – I would have been pretty ticked off too.

To show his displeasure with the whole thing he did his best to tear the corral apart and managed to break a couple of the old logs before it was over.   Thank goodness the iron was hot and Hubby only had to use it once.  I have to admit the new brand on his shoulder really shows up on that grey horse.

But a few soothing words, a couple pats on the back and a nice bucket of oats helped make it all better.  Although the next time you try to throw a black coat over his head I’m betting it won’t work quite so well.

Another successful branding day.

Read Full Post »

Most of our cows look like this:

Hello number 17.

And all of our bulls look like this:

“I’m a stud and I know it.”

So, needless to say, most of our calves look like this.

But every once in a while we end up with an odd colored calf. 

In 2009 we had Snowball.

As Ricky Ricardo always said,

“You got some ‘splaining to do, Lucy!”

Actually the big feed lot operation on the other side of the mountain from us runs Charolais bulls – big, white bulls.

Not even Earl, the horse knew what to think of this calf – even though he really did like the color.

Sorry, Snowball – just because you’re a little different that doesn’t mean we’re going to treat you different then the other calves.  After all, we wouldn’t want you to develop some debilitating complex where you feel singled out from the crowd and all alone.  And we really wouldn’t want you to think your special and get spoiled or anything like that.  I’m just saying – it could really ruin your life.  So it’s better if we treat you the same as everyone else.

In the chute you go. 

And look – we just happen to have a cowboy or two.

“Howdy, ma’am.  My name’s Morgan and I’ll be your Brander today.”

Snowball is laid out on our calf table.  The calf table is usually closed into a narrow alley way.  You run the calves into the little chute at the back of it and down the alley way to the three bars at the front.  With levers, you lower the bars around the side and neck of the calf, sucking the calf up to the wall.  Then you flip the wall and calf over onto its side – hence, the calf table.  It’s handy for branding, castrating, ear tagging and just general all-around working on calves.  And when your done you flip them back over onto their feet and release the bars on their side and they run out the front – back to mamma.  Sometimes we use the calf table instead of roping and dragging ’em.  It’s usually when we don’t have a lot of extra help running around. 

Snowball doesn’t look stressed at all – she’s thinking she’s going to spend the day at the spa.

“Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.”

Sorry honey, this ain’t no spa.

Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!

A brand.  A shot.  All done.

Just be thankful you’re a heifer calf, Snowball.  You don’t even want to think about what we do to the bull calves.

Here’s a good look at our brand – even if it is upside down in this shot.  It really shows up on that white hide.

Just another day at the ranch.

 

Read Full Post »