Saturday was brandin' day for Rancher Dan's calves. A lot of planning goes into making the day run smoothly. Last week we had gathered all the wayward cows and calves that were let out of their field by someone who had left the gate open...thankfully they were all still where they were supposed to be this time!
Rancher Dan's checklist for the day:
Firewood & starter...check
Gather up a crew...check
50 other miscellaneous things...check
We arrived around 9:30 and once the field is gathered and all the cows and calves are put into the branding pen...the fun begins!
Now, there are two ways to catch the calves...heels first or neck first. Rancher Dan prefers heels first, but the majority are caught by the neck first.
|Colt works hard and steady to pull the calf for the heeler.|
I was very proud of him...if my roping skills were better, we'd get done a lot quicker!
|Do you think we have enough ground crew help?!?|
Colt is very good to stand with the right amount of pressure on the rope
while the crew gets the job done.
Every calf gets vaccinated, both ears notched, and branded. The bull calves are castrated. Brands are registered with the State of Oregon and are unique in their style and placement on the calf. The ear notches are registered along with the brand too and are mostly for easy identification when your calves are mixed with another rancher's calves during the sorting process in the fall.
|The most important part...the brand...clean and easily read.|
It's just as much fun to watch a branding as it is to participate...I enjoyed taking photos when I wasn't roping.
|Throwing a long loop.|
|Catching the heels.|
|This young horse is learning his job well.|
|Standing firm and steady while holding the calf at the fire|
is necessary for every horse to get the job done.
Last but not least is a photo of my dear friend Mary. She roped the heels on my cow at last summer's futurity...she's a gritty lil' thing and sure knows her way around a ranch...something I really admire.
|My friend Mary...I want to be able to rope like her...she's a hand.|
After the last calf was branded, the horses are watered and the food was laid out on two tailgates...Gretchen does the BEST dutch oven over a fire. The perfect ending to a perfect day~
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