Monday, June 29, 2009
First off, it wouldn't be a branding without a brander! There are two brands that are kept hot by a propane flame. He switches off so that the brand is always hot, effective and quick. (by the way, that's hair burning, which is also what it smells like)
The vaccinator isn't necessary, as long as you don't mind running after all the calves again or having a sick and probably illegal herd. Soooo, it's a good idea.
Ropers get the calves where the work is done by lassoing their hind legs and sliding them over the grass.
A few of the moms are in the corral with the calves, but most are outside waiting. Not waiting patiently either. I was amazed how loud it was. Even in the middle of the country, if there's 100 mooing moms, it's loud!
The calves are then flipped onto their back/side by one person pulling the tail and the other pulling the rope that has the legs. It's a leverage thing.
Then they're held down, one person at the head and one at the feet so that everyone get get to the parts they need access to!
Then we have the surgical castration. Again, very important only if you want a good, healthy herd.
When I held the hind legs of one of these calves, it wasn't easy, but they really only flinched when the branding iron first touched and the first cut of the knife. I was surprised at how little they struggled once they were down.