Monday, May 18, 2015

Branding in the Rain

 It's May, which means it's the month of branding. Actually on our ranch we don't brand, but the calves are ear marked, banded (a form of castration), fly-tagged, and vaccinated. And it's a lot easier to say brand than all those other things!

May has turned out to be the month of rain here, which is so welcome after our dry winter. But it makes for some messy branding. I took the kids for a quick look on our way to Grandma's house, but they didn't want to get out in the rain, and I wanted to get a few photos, so  I left them in the van. The cowboys were just getting started.

The first calf roped was by one of our neighbors.

The calf was secured.

Then the crew came in and administered everything in less than a minute. The calf was released and it went back to its friends.

I am amazed at how talented some of these young cowboys are. They already are more skilled with a horse and rope than I ever will be.

The orange tag is the fly tag, which is so useful later in the summer.

A couple more cowboys roped calves.

Three stations were set up, so when three cowboys were holding tension on the calves, that meant the operation was going just right.

Watching the roping was fascinating. The timing is critical to get that rope around the calves' back legs. If you think about it, those back legs are only off the ground for a fraction of a second as the calf walks, so the rope has to be there just as the legs come up and then tighten at just the right moment otherwise the rope falls off and the calf walks away. There are easier ways to do the branding, but this is the way the cowboys prefer, as it gives them a chance to practice their skills.

Below is the overall view of the horses and cowboys keeping the calf at the station and the calves getting treated.

Everyone seemed to be handling the rain really well.
We had to go, so I couldn't stay longer. Later some of the ladies took a turn roping, and you can see that and more on Life on the Ranch blog.

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