In April, a work day was scheduled to tag, brand, vaccinate, de-worm, dehorn, and other "necessary procedures" for all calves; brand, vaccinate, and deworm cows and bulls. Family members were recruited - or volunteered or whatever to help. Supplies, equipment, and medicine were gathered and all personnel were excited for the day. Yep - most of us were "greenhorns" and really didn't know what to expect, but it didn't matter.
Everyone got out to the ranch early to get started before the day got too warm. All headed to the pasture to begin the process of gathering the cattle and get them moved to the working pens. This job was the first of many to see plans change throughout the day! All hands attempted to work together to herd the cows and calves into the working pens. The cows had other ideas! They would start towards the pens, then one would get in her head to go the opposite direction. Needless to say it was a long, LONG morning! Finally got all the animals into the working pens and got the calves separated off to begin the processing. Duties were assigned with quick lessons on what to do, equipment distributed, and record keeping set up.
The first calf came through the chute, worked and sent on through. For the most part, it went well.
The picture below shows the first mishap - he's holding his ripped jeans. A calf's hoof caught his jeans and ripped from the pocket to below the knee - duct tape fixes anything! Fortunately - no injury other than the jeans.
The pictures below were the cheerleaders for the day! They were such troopers and stayed most of the day!
The calves made it through the processing so the next group was the cows. Things started out ok, but as is quite often the truth, it didn't stay that way. Equipment didn't break down but certainly threw some kinks. It took much longer to work through the cows than calves and everyone had to be very flexible in how their job was handled. The head gate on the chute began to stick and made it interesting trying to catch a 1600 lb. cow! More than once gates had to be reset quickly to keep a cow from heading out before getting all the goodies she needed.
Even though the day was over 12 hours long, all cows and calves got worked ( the last few in the dark - and they are black cows!), and all the help survived the day without too many hurt feelings, injured pride, or physical injuries. All in all - it was a good day and I loved it!
The process has occurred a couple of times since that day. It actually goes much smoother and the calves are much calmer now and for the most part, don't balk or hesitate going through the working chute. There is always one or two that are a little crazy but most go through quietly. It sure makes it easier especially since there are normally only one or two doing the processing now.
What a learning experience this has been! But as I've stated in multiple posts since starting on this journey - I love it and wouldn't trade any of it!