Wonderful weather has been the norm as of late… and it makes for a great calving season.  Last night, Daniel calved out the last of our heifers.  Today, in one bunch, 15 calves were born!  This afternoon, I rode along with Vernon as he and Brandon tagged the calves born yesterday.

Tagging… not with a hashtag or name… but a real plastic eartag with a number on it.  We make our calf tags match their mom’s tag.  That makes for easier pairing when they are ready to head for the hills.  (Yes, ranchers have been tagging long before it was cool!)  The sooner you do it, the better… well, maybe The Easier would be the way to put it!

Mother Nature gives these little calves some SPEED – even those only a day or two old.  Wait longer than that and in the open, well, let’s just say that the rodeo event called calf roping was developed for a reason.

Our method is a bit wild at times… It involves four-wheelers and fast runners, namely Brandon!  If we’re in the sagebrush or greasewood, it’s easy to sneak up to a calf and grab hold of it.  The calf, startled, will often bawl for momma and here she comes… all 1200 pounds of her!  Most of our cows are nice, and while they’re concerned, they watch carefully.

taggingBrandon clips in the new eartag and bands it if it’s a bull calf.  Last, he’ll give it the earmark of a square underbite.  Vernon hands him his supplies while holding the white sorting stick.  Yes.  One little 4′ piece of plastic is all that stands between that big momma cow and my baby boy.  Notice I am not within range on this one!  Actually, this one was nice.  The one that was a bit snarkeldy?  I wasn’t worried about taking pictures!

tagging calfHere’s a closer look at the eartag and the underbite on the left ear.

tagging calf 2The guys are pretty speedy at this.  The calf is down and done in a minute or two and then quickly released back to momma.  The cows are happy to have their calves back and quickly escort them away.

reunitedThe guys will repeat this everyday until every calf has her number.

TAG!  You’re IT!


Tagging — 3 Comments

  1. Very interesting! Never a dull moment on the ranch! Those of you who are interested in ranch life would enjoy reading .Riding the Edge of an Era” by Diana Allen Kouris Our book club in Casper is reading this for March. Very enjoyable and well written true ranch story of “growing up cowboy on the Outlaw Trail” from Mexico to Canada , mainly in WY and Hole in the Wall. Places you will recognize!

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