Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Days of Branding: How we do it

You really should come spend a day branding with us.  You could almost pick any weekend and we would be going out.  Most days we brand the association cattle.  We have 7 ranches worth of cattle together on the range, which means a lot calves!  But more about branding with the association another day.

The day that you want to brand with us is when we do our cattle on the Peterson Place.  We have about 350 cows to sort through and brand.  We start in the morning gathering the cattle from the north. This year we did it in the rain, and what started out as a refreshing little shower turned into a soaker (be glad I didn't tell you to come until AFTER the rainy year). 

We sort the cows out (but we leave a few... the babies are happier with a momma around) and then start to work.  Actually this year, we had to wait a while before we could start- blame the rain! 

But eventually we got to work.  The ropers rope (obviously) and drag the calves to the "fire" where the ground crew is set up.  The calves are caught and held with Nord Forks.  Don't know what they are?  (neither did I until I started branding with The Rancher). The are a handy tool that is staked into the ground and has a fork like head catch.  It slips on the calf's neck and catches at the base of the head.

The forks make for an easy way to hold the calves while we mark, castrate, vaccinate, tag, and brand the calves.  Its a lot to do, so we need some one to run the shots, guys to do the castrating, others to brand and the top dogs mark and tag.  Once we hit our groove we just roll on through them.  Before we know it, the calves are branded and the dinner bells is a-ringin'!


And then we start over.

We gather in the bunch from the south.  Then sort (and no waiting!), rope, drag... you know how it goes!

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