The first branding of the season and we're off to a good start thanks to a lot of great cowboys and cowgirls. We call it branding, which isn't actually accurate. We don't brand the calves. We do give them each a distinct ear mark that is registered to our ranch. We give the calves vaccinations to keep them from getting sick, (just like you do for your children or pets). We put a fly tag in their ear which helps fight off the insects during the summer. If the calves are male, they are castrated. We castrate by using a small rubber band, it's called banding.
Cowgirl Baylee showing her roping skills. What concentration.
It takes more than good ropers to get the job done. When someone isn't roping they join the ground crew to give shots, band, ear mark, ear tag or run the Nord Fork.
The Nord Fork is a device that holds the calf by the head. It allows the roper to rope the heels of the calf and then drag it to the Nord Fork. It holds the head without putting pressure on the calf's throat and allows access to the neck of the calf so it can receive it's shots.
Ryan looked like he was tagging, ear marking and running the Nord Fork. The picture below shoes the holster Dave made out of an old boot to keep the shears in.
This sister duo did a great job tagging the calves.
Once the calf has received it's shots, it is given a chalk mark. Two marks indicate it has received the two shots it needed. The orange tag is a fly tag. It helps protect the calf from the insects during the summer.
A good ground crew is essential.
Sometimes the Nord Fork is missed, then the calf has to be wrestled down.
These young cowboys aren't just great on the ground, they are great ropers as well.
The older cowboys are always teaching.
Branding is a lot of work, but there is always time for a little fun.
They have to try to ride a few.
Beautiful horses and terrific help make for a fun and successful day of processing calves.