Branding

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Dave
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Branding

Post by Dave » Sat Mar 30, 2019 11:18 am

Well it is officially branding season. Went to the first one yesterday. Going to another one tomorrow. Cow go to the hills in about two weeks so the calves need to get branded. Yesterday we started at 1:00 and got done just before 5:00. Did about 350 calves. Calves were already gathered and cows sorted off. Put about 40 or so calves at a time into a 70 by 70 pen. Six riders at a time in the pen roping and dragging them out to the fire. Two shots, branded, and ear marked then turned lose to go to mom.



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Re: Branding

Post by Chocolate Cow2 » Sat Mar 30, 2019 12:43 pm

Beats a calf cradle, doesn't it!

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Re: Branding

Post by gcreekrch » Sat Mar 30, 2019 2:03 pm

Chocolate Cow2 wrote:
Sat Mar 30, 2019 12:43 pm
Beats a calf cradle, doesn't it!
With a good crew yes.

When it develops into feeding beer and food to 60 uninvited dudes that get in the way or don't help at all it ends up being way easier on this old cowboy's nerves to use a table. With a crew of 4 we can put them through about one every 45 seconds and know they got everything they were supposed to.
Vaccinations, cheaper than whiskey. ;-)

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Re: Branding

Post by Dave » Sat Mar 30, 2019 9:09 pm

gcreekrch wrote:
Sat Mar 30, 2019 2:03 pm
Chocolate Cow2 wrote:
Sat Mar 30, 2019 12:43 pm
Beats a calf cradle, doesn't it!
With a good crew yes.

When it develops into feeding beer and food to 60 uninvited dudes that get in the way or don't help at all it ends up being way easier on this old cowboy's nerves to use a table. With a crew of 4 we can put them through about one every 45 seconds and know they got everything they were supposed to.
How do you find 60 people to show up where you live? These were all neighbors who will be having their own brandings in the next couple week. There was a little beer drank but not much. I don't know what the food was. I left when we got done. As did 6 or 8 others. I have been to 4 other branding since moving here. Lets just say I have been to branding that fed better. I am going to one on Sunday. I am certain there will be lots of beer (I don"t drink). The rancher (mid 50"s) lost his wife last September so I question how the food will be.

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Re: Branding

Post by gcreekrch » Sat Mar 30, 2019 11:04 pm

Dave wrote:
Sat Mar 30, 2019 9:09 pm
gcreekrch wrote:
Sat Mar 30, 2019 2:03 pm
Chocolate Cow2 wrote:
Sat Mar 30, 2019 12:43 pm
Beats a calf cradle, doesn't it!
With a good crew yes.

When it develops into feeding beer and food to 60 uninvited dudes that get in the way or don't help at all it ends up being way easier on this old cowboy's nerves to use a table. With a crew of 4 we can put them through about one every 45 seconds and know they got everything they were supposed to.
How do you find 60 people to show up where you live? These were all neighbors who will be having their own brandings in the next couple week. There was a little beer drank but not much. I don't know what the food was. I left when we got done. As did 6 or 8 others. I have been to 4 other branding since moving here. Lets just say I have been to branding that fed better. I am going to one on Sunday. I am certain there will be lots of beer (I don"t drink). The rancher (mid 50"s) lost his wife last September so I question how the food will be.
LOL, your first question does have merit but show up they did.

There were once three of us who dragged calves to the fire. We shared as you are describing and had fun doing a good job. Well, word gets out and next thing there were too many people showing up.....of the wrong kind too. Vaccinations given twice or missed altogether, horns missed, I have even witnessed a drunk branding a calf on the wrong side.
Another guy who is really a close friend thought it was funny to go in on foot and grab calves because he thought it upset the ropes. It did but it wasn’t good for calves either. This fellow is bull strong and not real practical. I watched him carry a 175 lb calf kicking and fighting while he held it off the ground by its head. Another time grab two calves each by a hind leg and then twist their legs until they both went down. He asked me the next year why I didn’t invite him to our day and was some offended when I told him I didn’t like him in the branding pen for the way he treated cattle.
I have been to my share of good outfits and know how a branding should be done. There aren’t enough in this area to pull it off so we will stick to farmer style and then we know our fall paycheque is processed properly and as humanely possible.

A lot easier on the wife too since she does all the vaccinating and runs the head gate..

Sounds like you might want to bring a sandwich tomorrow!
Vaccinations, cheaper than whiskey. ;-)

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Re: Branding

Post by Nesikep » Sun Mar 31, 2019 3:00 am

I only go to one branding a year, and it's a really big shindig.. they only do about 80 calves and probably have more people than cattle there. The ranch owners do the branding, some longtime friends do the vaccinations, they have 2 good ropers.. rest of the people there are drinking, with some of them holding the calves down. They calf in Feb and brand in May.. some of the bigger ones sure are a fight at that age.

2 years ago they had a really late born calf in the bunch and they couldn't rope it, I cornered it, picked it up (like you would any new calf) and just carried it over. They did have one calf get injured when it got caught by only one hind leg, so now they only snag them by both or let them go if it's a 1-legged catch
What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence
-Christopher Hitchens

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Re: Branding

Post by Dave » Sun Mar 31, 2019 8:51 am

The brandings here are neighborhood work parties. There is beer but not much in the cooler. There is also soda and bottled water. At the one the other day his hired man did the branding, two of his friends gave the shots, one neighbor checked for horns, and the owner did the ear notching. A total of 12 ropers. Six in the pen at a time. The traded off with each fresh bunch of calves. A couple young guys doing the wrestling. And some of the younger ropers would help the wrestlers when they weren't roping.
I had cut my finger pretty bad that morning, so I got an easy job. The calves are all worked just outside an open gate in maybe a 16 foot square area. I had a shovel to clean up any mess a calf made so the wrestlers weren't kneeling in calf crap. Mostly I leaned on the shovel and watched that no calves escaped out the gate.

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Re: Branding

Post by Silver » Sun Mar 31, 2019 10:18 am

I really enjoy brandings, especially other people's. For much the same reason as gcreek I don't do it that way anymore. I think I would do it again if there were a pool of capable wrestlers available, but most of us that were handy at it are getting too old to do a lot of it.
I never let more than 3 ropers in the pen at once. I found I didn't have the technology to keep the irons hot enough to do more than 100 head an hour and 3 ropers can accomplish this easily with occasional beer breaks to let the irons catch up.

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Re: Branding

Post by gcreekrch » Sun Mar 31, 2019 3:54 pm

Silver wrote:
Sun Mar 31, 2019 10:18 am
I really enjoy brandings, especially other people's. For much the same reason as gcreek I don't do it that way anymore. I think I would do it again if there were a pool of capable wrestlers available, but most of us that were handy at it are getting too old to do a lot of it.
I never let more than 3 ropers in the pen at once. I found I didn't have the technology to keep the irons hot enough to do more than 100 head an hour and 3 ropers can accomplish this easily with occasional beer breaks to let the irons catch up.
Yes, too many are worried about how fast the job can get done rather than how well it can be done. People that aren't familiar with cattle operations don't realize it is your livelihood that they are "having fun" with.

I was branding some cows we had bought once and couldn't understand why the wouldn't settle down in the chute after I had touched them with the iron a time or two. Years later I was told there was a "helper" on the other side of the squeeze that had gotten ahold of my hotshot and would make them jump about the time the iron came close again. It would have been a battle royal had I known that day.

I better quit on this subject, can feel the blood pressure rising...……….
Vaccinations, cheaper than whiskey. ;-)

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Re: Branding

Post by Dave » Sun Mar 31, 2019 11:12 pm

Branding went smooth today. Some guy I never met did the cooking BBQ ribs were great. They head and heel here as opposed to heeling and dragging to the fire. 4 or 5 ropers at a time. I don't think we ever had 6 in the pen. Enough young muscle to wrestle. I just gave them a Nasalgen and a 8 way. Being the oldest guy there I didn't draw any tough duty. My first time at one of his brandings. I did find out that he said 1:00 but if you showed up at 2:00 you would still be early.

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