Today we did a smidge of work, retagging our heifers. The calculations have been done to choose which girls get their full membership here at Greet Ranch. Ancestry/genetics, calving due date, looks, size, weight gain, and which bull they’re bred to, all factor in to choosing them for permanent residents of our herd.
The tags they received as newborns matched their mother’s number. That made it easy to match momma #511 with her calf #511. Now that these calves are grown up and will be having babies of their own in four months, they get their own numbers. Their baby tags are cut and pulled out of their ears.
Vernon is holding her new number. These tags are much larger than their calf tag. Many times the hole in their ear from the baby tag can be reused, similar to putting a new earring in your original pierced hole. If it is too large to keep the tag in, Vernon will just pierce them a new hole with the tag. It has a sharp pointed back so that it can be done quickly.
Brandon has the job of tattooing her number in her other ear. His tattoo tool has rotating numbers made of tiny little needle like spikes. He can dial up whatever number he needs.
Obviously, you can’t just tattoo entire numbers without slicing into her ear. If you think of an old dot matrix printer, that’s what it’s like. Green tattoo ink is rubbed on her ear with an old toothbrush.
The tattoo tool is lined up with the ink, then you give it a mighty squeeze! The needles are pushed in and then the toothbrush rubs the ink into the holes to creat permanent scarring. If a cow loses her tag or someone rustles her or cuts it off, her tattoo number will still exist to help identify her.Find me here!