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.
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.
Our pen and our catch pen.
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!