branded mine

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Dave

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Did my little branding today. We did 63 calves. Then we hauled them and their mothers about 10 miles or so to where they will spend the summer. There was 2 that just calved this morning and 14 dry cows who are yet to calf. They all got kicked out to some range up behind my house.

We were a bit short crewed. 3 ropers, Bert wrestling and handling the iron, and me giving shots. Our other two crew members showed up about the time we were done. One had jury duty. He had to drive to town and wait to be excused. The other had 600-700 cows to feed before coming over. I guess we were just too fast for them.
 

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GoWyo

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Gotta rope both ends even on the tiny calves when you have old guys for ground crew. 😀 (where is the old emoji with the character hiding under the chair?)
 
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Dave

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Those little ones in the background, you'll pull them apart if you do them like that.

Ken
No problem pulling the calves apart. You just need need real cowboys who know how to handle their horse, rope, and the calves. Every calf in the pen was roped and stretched out. Some week old calves were handled slowly. A couple 300 pounders were handled a little rougher.
They always head and heel at all the brandings here. Ask why and they go into a history of everything they have tried over the years. I am not roping or wrestling at any of the brandings. I am just vaccinating or running the iron so I don't care how they do it as long as the calf is stretched out in front of me.
 

Katpau

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You had 5 people for 63 calves? I'm pretty jealous. My husband and are in our late 60's. We do about 40 calves at a time, running them through a chute. It takes a couple hours including gathering them into the corrals. It was faster when we were younger and more agile. It would help to have a third person so we could have one bringing them up the chute while the other two work from both sides, but it goes pretty good this way. My neighbor will work that many of his cows all be himself with a self catch head-gate, although he usually gets help when working calves.

I suspect the branding you described is much more about tradition and the social interactions than efficiency. I can see it making sense for 3 guys and their horses to come to an open range situation to brand 300+ calves, but with the right facilities you can easily run 63 calves through a chute and have them vaccinated, cut & branded in under a couple hours with two or three people. All you need is someone to run them up, and another to catch and do the work. It seems like it would add at least a half hour to catch and saddle the horses and get them hauled to where your working. I admit that your way sounds like a lot more fun though. I really enjoyed the photos. :)
 
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Dave

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We do 300+ calves at some of the brandings here. That takes more than 3 people on 3 horses. At the 3 to 300 ratio you would have cowboys whose arm is about to fall off and horse too tired to walk.
We spent way less than a couple hours branding the calves. Sorting and organizing took some time. They were hauled in two trips to summer pasture. Three goose neck loads of cows and one full of calves on each trip. Needed cows and calves to match up on each trip. This is a terrible place to mother things up. Cows or calves not matching up...... well by the time we were back with the next load it is hard telling where they might be. Big rough country.
Cows worked here all go though a chute of course. Most everyone has a hydraulic chute. I am one of few here with a manual chute. Again it is not a few cows. Often 300+ cows in an afternoon.
 

Silver

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We quit branding calves a few years ago. We roped and dragged with several wrestling crews. With enough good help we could easily brand 100 calves per hour, the limiting factor was keeping the irons hot.
But good help is getting harder to find, I hated worrying about the weather, the wife stressed over the food, and it became more of a spectator sport with more people watching than helping. So we quit. And to be honest I don't miss my own brandings at all. But I do enjoy other peoples brandings lol
Now I just brand my replacement heifers in the spring before I turn them out to breeding pastures. Life is simpler this way and affords me time to do things that are more productive.
 

Rydero

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We don't brand calves only yearlings but it's all done through the chute. Whether It's pairs, cattle or yearlings being worked we'll sort on foot and we can do whatever needs doing with 2-3 people, 4 is almost too many. Usually more women and teenage girls than men when there's lots to do. If it's only 30-40 and during the week the boss's wife and I will just go pluck away at them while he's feeding silage etc, big days are done on the weekend when the kids are around. She trains horses so they get used a little to bring herds in, but rarely to sort etc. We refer to ourselves as cattle farmers instead of ranchers or cowboys - there's thousands and thousands of cows around here but cowboys are few and far between. Looks like a good time.
 
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Dave

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All the calves should be branded here. To much shared BLM range and fences which are more of suggestion than a barrier. Not much out right theft happening. However, there are some people who might not look real close at a calf that got mixed in with theirs. And cows from here have shown up 100 road miles from here in the fall. Trust your neighbors but brand your calves.

Last winter one of the neighbors was at small feedlot over by town. He was talking to the feedlot manager close to the squeeze chute. He happened to notice a calf in the pen. Asked which pen of calves this one came from. He was told. Well it wasn't the owner of the calf. He knew that the actual owner didn't have any calves at that feedlot. Just a mistake I am sure. But some mistakes are made because someone doesn't look to close.

Everyone here ropes and drags to the fire except one outfit. They use a calf table by themselves. Their son told me that if they invited the neighbors to their branding that they would have to go to the neighbors branding. Yep, it is called community. Funny part is when I was looking at buying this place that same son told me that Baker county was ranchers, Union county (next one to the west) was a farmer community. Ranchers help each other. Farmers not nearly as much. When I was rebuilding my corral I had two different rancher neighbors tell me to get my supplies together and let them know. They would set up a work party day. I didn't do it because they have a lot more to do than I do. But the offer was sure appreciated.
 

Silver

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A lot of people in this region brand for the same reason, they are on large community pastures and such. We are fortunate in our immediate area that we all have our own gov't land to graze. On top of that, we all help each other at weaning and shipping time so anything that is mixed up gets sorted out at that time, a brand would not be needed to identify a calf's owner.
 
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Dave

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The calf my neighbor spotted at the feedlot was branded. But it was the ear mark that he recognized first. The real owner is a next door neighbor to him. I am certain that over the years a lot of cattle have crossed that fence going both ways.
 
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Dave

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Hot iron. Don't know of anyone around here freeze brand.

Buckskin belongs to the man riding. He is my next door neighbor. Well next door over a half mile away. Counting brood mares he probably has 15 horses. All good looking one. All darn sure good cow ponies. Starting about 3 weeks ago until some time in early November he is in the saddle most days.
 
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