The process is repeated over and over for each calf, and the team works smoothly. A calf is moved into the chute, which is tightened and laid on its side. Each calf receives several vaccinations and has its ears cut. This ear cutting is to show ownership of the calf. We don't brand calves, but use this method instead.
When I told my husband that ear cutting didn't seem very nice, he reminded me that human circumcision is basically the same concept--removing part of the body that isn't critical for a function.
Calves are given an oral antibiotic, but since they aren't willing to just take a pill and swallowit with a swig of water, there's a metal gadget (called a balling gun if you really wanted to know) that is put down their throat to make them take the pill.
And if the calf is a male, it is castrated. But instead of whacking off those delicate parts, a rubber band is used to cut off circulation, and in a few days the reduced blood flow means that part of the body is no longer effective. The infection rate for this method is less than the Rocky Mountain oyster method.
For female calves, the process is done in less than a minute, and for male calves, just a bit longer. The chute is tipped up, and the calf jumps out.
Old Cowboy Lee came by with a sick calf he had found on the range. I love it when Lee comes by, he is just such a quintessential cowboy.
Desert Boy and I got a job while we were hanging around. We moved the newly processed calves out of the fenced area and into the bigger part of the corral where all the nervous moms were waiting.