Ear Tagging Newborn Calves Can Get Wild and Western
A while back, I was riding around with my friend Dan who was out tagging new born calves. It's a process that almost all beef producers go through.
Each newborn calf gets a tag with a number. In Dan's case they have three different colors they use. The three colors show ownership. The number goes into a book with the sex of the calf and any other notations that might need to be made.
There's quite a bit of technique involved with tagging newborn calves. The idea is to get out and do the job as soon as possible. Mamma is still groggy from giving birth and the baby calf isn't quite the sprinter he or she will be in a couple of days. So timing is critical.
I have to hand it to Dan. He has his routine down. First of all, he has everything ready. Tag with number ready to go and any vaccination he might be giving at the time loaded in the syringe.
Then, he simply pulls his pickup right up to where the calf is laying, and in a sense pushing the mamma cow out of the way. He then steps out of the pickup and using the door as a makeshift shield steps out and tags the calf. If all goes well he then grabs the syringe, does the vaccination and it's on to the next calf. When his method goes as planned, it's quick and quite.
If you've spent any time around a calving yard you know it's not always that simple. Some cows are very protective. Dan says, 'you kind of get good at watching for the cows that seem to be alert and ready to protect.' When he sees one like that he says you make sure you keep one eye on your job, tagging and vaccinating the calf and the other eye on mom!
I'd love to hear from you if you have any video or stories that have come about while tagging calves. If you ask a farmer or rancher to tell you a good story, it most likely could come from this time of year. Calving season.
Here are a couple of examples of videos that show what I'm talking about.
Oh, and leave it to a farmer or rancher who might like to mix in a little technology.
This is one of my favorites. It might be a bit of overkill but looks like it would be kind of fun to work with.