It’s All About the Ears

We continue to check on our cattle, keeping an eye open for sickness, especially in calves.

So, how do you tell if a calf is sick?  It’s all about the ears.

While calves’ ears don’t stand up like like a deer’s, there is definitely an upward tilt on a happy, sun-loving, grass-eating baby.  If you see droopy ears, it’s like seeing a child with rosy cheeks, red ears, and dreary eyes.  There’s something wrong.

That was our scenario the other day on the mountain.

Time was, that you’d haul a couple of horses up, rope the calf (hopefully on the first swing), and doctor him… or if it was close to the corral, take him and his mom into the corral, and then, doctor him.

The past few years, we’ve used a different technique.

dart gunIt’s a pump dart gun.

antibioticAntibiotic is squeezed into the dart… just like you’d give medicine to your kids at home.

dartThe syringe dart is loaded into the gun and it is pumped up.  It is all air action, no gunpowder involved!

aimVernon calmly walks out into the bunch and takes aim.

targetGot him!  The dart will fall out on its own and the medicine has been injected.  We will write down his number, check him again, and keep the record that he received antibiotics and he won’t be sold with the rest of our steers since we are GAP certified.

Easy peasy, low stress doctoring!


It’s All About the Ears — 8 Comments

  1. Yes, great shot, Vernon. That is so cool that you all have devised a way to doctor a calf/or cow out in the field like that. It must save you much work in trying to get the individual calf in and secured to give it the shot. I am so impressed with how you all are right on the cutting edge in your use of new technologies and methods in your ranching. High five and kudos to you!!

    • Thank you. There’s definitely more stress on the calf by roping it, but it’s better than just letting it be sick. Ranchers really do try to do the best for their animals.

  2. Very interesting. Hope the calf benefits from the meds 100% – and that her ears get back to normal, too. hahahahaha 🙂

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