Ear Tagging

I am finally getting around to actually blogging again. I have been wanting to blog for some time about tagging our calves with ear tags. One of my follower’s grandson thinks it is so funny that cows have earrings. So this is for him. Hubby and I have had a herd now for about four years now. This is our fourth crop of calves this year in 2014. Our very last calf was finally born this past Sunday morning. All nine have now arrived. So far we have been lucky and they have all had their calves without a problem. Especially the two first time heifers that had theirs unassisted. We are over our limit of cow/calf pairs that we wanted on our pasture, so we will have to sell more than the bull calves this year or next. Or sell some of the older cows and replace them with the younger ones. The borrowed bull was delivered on Friday morning from one of our neighbor friends who has been raising cattle for many years. He and his wife have been very helpful in helping us out with questions and any other problems that come up. And another neighbor has been helpful in helping by selling us our first four cows that were already bred the first year we started.

Tagging ears is quite the experience at times. It can be hazardous to your health, but also exciting. Our chute that we use is not the strongest, and is an old chute that was on the property when we bought it. We really don’t have the equipment that we need to do things properly, but we use what we have. We have a small pen set up within the pen to try and catch the calves in then shoo them into the chute to tag them. Getting them into the smaller pen with Mommas and babies milling around in the bigger pen can be quite interesting. You slip and weave and fall and pray you don’t get kicked or head butted. When we do get the calves into the pen we kind of wait to see which cow comes to the side of the chute and bellows in your ear so we know we have the right calf with the right tag that matches the mom’s. Hubby does kind of tend to wait a little too long to get it done and it is harder to do a 100 pound calf than a 50 or 60 pound calf. The first three calves got tagged without too much problem. The fourth one, well we didn’t know the spring in the tagger lost it’s spring and kind of hurt the calf more than it should have. It was glad to get comfort from mom’s udder. The fifth we didn’t even get the tag all the way through and had to pull it back out. Hubby got thrown forward and hit the side of the chute resulting in a small cut on the head. Thankfully it didn’t bleed much. Just a couple of streaks. I received a smack on the nose and then a kick on the elbow area when the calf got loose and slipped through the bars of a panel that was supposed to keep it in. That was all the excitement I could handle that day. Hubby gets a little nervous tagging anyway and his hands do shake a little, so that doesn’t help any. He was ready to give it a break until we could get a new tagger.

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The new tagger works great and even came with an extra spring stored in the handle. Trying to get the calf back in that didn’t get tagged because we had to pull out the tag was harder to catch this time round. Can’t imagine why! We use the smaller tags because the bigger ones seem to hang heavy in the calves ears. They are harder to see as the calf gets bigger and the hair starts hanging over them, but we can tell who’s who when we get closer. This year Hubby used green and orange. Orange for the boys and green for the girls. Guess they don’t have pink and blue. Lol! Anyway they are all done now except the one born on Sunday. Hopefully it goes well. Momma is still keeping it hidden for a few more days and then she will be with the herd on a regular bases. At least we will know which calf goes with which mom this time. It will be easy to sort her out.

Here are the cows and babies with their earrings. And the ones that had to wait until the new tagger was bought.

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Our pen and our catch pen.

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And our Sandy who loves to ride the ATV with us. She will be ten years old this fall. She loves car rides too and gives you such a sad look when she can’t go.


Well, that’s all for this post. I have lots of other pictures that I want to post. From baby birds on our porch to other things in our pasture. Until next time.

Stay safe and God Bless!


6 responses to “Ear Tagging

  1. Gelfling Grandson will be over this weekend so we will have to pour over your post goodness knows how many times over LOL I will no doubt have to write you an essay on his thoughts then 🙂 Any hoo firstly my thoughts…..it certainly sounds like you have had plenty of excitement of late !!! after each birth you must breath a sigh of relief. As for the tagging process ‘Oh My Goodness’ you must have nerves of steel, how on earth do you remember to breath through out … I’d be holding my breath for so long I’d need resuscitating on a regular basis. Hope yourself and The Hubby have recovered from your sustained injuries I never realised you risked life and limb on what on first impressions appears a minor job, I love all your photos, the herd looks magnificent Gelfling will chuckle when he sees them 🙂 Love to Sandy
    Gelfling will be in touch with his comment at the weekend ….please be prepared with a comfy chair and a cup of tea as I have the feeling he will ramble on at length LOL

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  2. I look forward to reading Gelfling’s reply. I enjoy hearing from him and from you. I hope he enjoys the post. As for the injuries, they were very minor thankfully. It can be dangerous if the cows decide you are doing damage to their calves. Some cows are just down right nasty tempered. Thankfully our cows have been handled enough by humans that they are sort of okay with us tagging their babies. My farther-in-law had a cow that would rather grind you into dust if you so much as looked in her calf’s direction. Or so it seemed. We did have one that shook her head at me and feigned a charge once. It did give my heart a good jolt. I think she might have come on if her calf wasn’t standing between us. We were having to bottle feed this particular one. She finally got used to us handling the calf, but kept very close and mooed a lot. I learned to breath in my riding lessons. My instructor taught Centered Riding by Sally Swift. It is sort of a cross between yoga and riding. Very interesting. A big part of it is breathing to keep yourself calm, therefore your horse is calm. It is amazing how if you let out a breath and relax, the horse will do the same. Hubby thinks it is a bunch of hooey. But, I have learned that it works. Gotta go now. I will check for Gelfling’s post this weekend. Take care.

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  3. Gelfling Grandson & I sat and read your post together last night and he has asked me to reply on his behalf….so here goes….It’s basically a list of questions LOL and I quote ‘ how many days does it take to get all the earrings in the cattle?’ ‘how old are the calf’s when you tag them ?’ Are all your cattle black?’ There are a few more questions that he wants to ask but I’ll ask them a few at a time if that’s ok with you 🙂 apart from the ear tagging, the pen REALLY caught his imagination and had to re view the photos in minor detail ….. on several occasions. When he saw Sandy well he set to chuckling and had questions about her also ‘where does she sit?’ ‘do you have to hold her tight?’ ‘does she sit in the front of the car or the back?’…. I’ll leave it there for now as I know your a busy lady, many thanks for the post he really enjoyed it and I apologise if his questions are a little mundane that’s a child’s inquiring mind for you I guess LOL

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  4. Gelfling Grandson, I am so glad you enjoyed the photos and my blog. Thank you for reading it and asking questions. Questions are always good. You can learn from asking, so ask as many questions as you like and I will try and get them answered as soon as I can.
    We should get the earrings in as soon as the calves are born, but that is not always possible. Most of these calves were a couple months old, so they are stronger and even more leery of humans than at the very beginning. We can usually get three or four done in a couple of hours. Just depends on how hard it is to get them separated from their Moms and into the catch pen. And how soon Hubby and I wear down. And how hot or cool it might be.
    All of the cattle we have are black. The man we bought the first four from, did have black and red cattle. I personally would like to have some red ones as they take the heat better in our summers, and also we were told that the red ones don’t get bothered as much by the flies. One of our first calves was born solid red and I was so excited until I found out that it was a bull calf and not a heifer. I wanted to keep him, but Hubby said no. We were just starting out and did not have the proper pens to keep a bull in. So he was sold. I keep hoping to some day get some red heifers and have some more red babies.
    I will try and get some better pictures if our pen and catch pen and you can study it till your hearts content. I love that you are so curious. Stay that way. You will always learn something.
    Sandy, she has very good balance. She adjusts to the movement of the ATV as it moves. I do kind of try and help her balance when I am going faster and getting the horses in from the pasture. The ground is uneven a lot and I sometimes have to make a few tight turns. She rides in front of me. I will have Hubby take a picture so you can see how she rides. She has been riding on the ATV with me or Hubby since she was a puppy. We got her in November so it was cold and I would zip her into my chore coat and she would stick her head out and look around until she got cold and duck back inside. In the car she usually rides in the back seat, but occasionally she will ride up front. She likes to stick her head out the window when it is nice enough to have them rolled down. I will answer all the questions you have.
    Grandma, thank you for asking for him. It is perfectly alright to ask. I will be glad to answer any questions either of you have. If you would like to share emails I would be glad to do so. Just send an email to my blog email, chrllrobb.blogs@gmail.com. I will give you my regular email from there. But only if you want to. I would be glad to give you mine. I know you are busy too. I am retired and don’t stay as busy as I should. I just get preoccupied sometimes and lose track of what I want and need to do. I love talking to you. Until next time. I will probably have to make a blog out of the answers! LOL!

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  5. Next time Gelfling descends on us we will curl on the sofa and discuss your response in detail LOL and e-mail you 101 questions and comments no doubt, thank you so much for taking time out to sooth a little ones inquiring mind, when school begins in September show & tell will have a cattle themed performance from him I’m sure 😀

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  6. I am more than happy to answer his questions. Our granddaughter will be starting back to school tomorrow, Wednesday August 13. She is ready to go back to school. She likes learning and I hope and pray she will continue to want to learn. I am so glad I could answer Grandson’s inquiring mind about cattle. Lol. We are still learning. I am always learning about my horses and donkey. They can teach me just as well. And learning to sit, relax and enjoy the beauties of God. That’s why I love the country living too. It comes with many quiet and happy sights and sounds.

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