It’s that time of year again… Branding time! This year we had an addition to the crew. Nick has been around our family for years, but it was his first time branding with us and I have to say he did a fantastic job. After some of the initial castrating shock wore off, he settled into his job like a professional. Kudos to him because he had my least favorite job (if you’re not careful you can lose a few teeth): catching and securing the legs of the bull calves in order for my brother to castrate. Nick took advice and learned quickly. And he didn’t get kicked once!
On our ranch we use what’s called a calf table/chute. There are two methods used to catch the calves in order to brand, castrate, and vaccinate them. One is a calf table like we use and the other option is to rope them horseback. My grandfather always took working cattle very seriously and used a smaller crew therefore the calf table was what worked best for us. Both methods are efficient and every rancher has a different opinion of which one is best. This is the route that works best for us.
A good vaccination protocol is also something we believe in strongly at the .7 Ranch. It is important to protect our calves as well as prime their system for the next stage of life.
My dad was able to join us this year too which was so cool. He’s handled tipping the calf table and making sure the calves didn’t come his way off the table. I don’t remember the last time my entire immediate family was all together branding; definitely a memory I will cherish.
Castrating. This was a job that was always done by my grandfather. It was a job that he thought to be extremely important. My brother now has that task and has gracefully stepped up to the plate.
We only use one brand on the cattle but as you can see, there are a couple in the branding pot. You can’t ever be over prepared when working cattle. Stuff happens so we put multiple “irons in the fire” to cover our bases.
At the end of the day we let the calves back out with their mothers and keep them in a small lot for awhile in order for them to “mother up” (a term that means the cow finding its calf and joining together again). For the next few days we monitor the calves very closely to ensure there is no infection and the calves heal up properly.
So there you have it! That’s what a day in the life of a .7 crew member looks like on branding day. Do you have questions about the pictures you’ve seen here? Feel free to ask away in the comments and as always, thanks for reading!