Wednesday, May 25, 2011

It's branding time in Alberta!

With the spring weather & green grass it comes time to brand the new calves. A friend and her fiancee had their first crop of calves together this year and I thought it was pretty special so I tried to take lots of pictures.
The weather was miserable & raining but lots of people still turned out to help! It took us about 1.5 hrs to brand & vaccinate 75 calves. Normally we'd brand outside but due to the weather, we moved inside one of the big sheds on their farm. It worked out quite well and once everyone got to work wrestling calves, branding or giving vaccines, we warmed right up.

We had the calves on one side of the shed, the roper goes in to bring one out.

Under the watchful eye of their mama's standing outside.

These two were very interested and watching intently.

Two people hold the calf while it gets it's vaccines.

Just look at the size of that needle! Don't make her mad!

These are the branding irons being heated up.

And then in comes the branding iron.

We usually had two teams going at a time, one calf gets it's vaccinations while the other is branded and vice versa.

Even the little guys were helping out!

And making sure that spare horse didn't wander off.

Or just hanging out with dad watching.

There's the finished product. Branding is key to being able to keep track of your animals when they're out on pasture. Some community grazing associations have thousands of acres and thousands of cows on them. So you have to be able to quickly & easily identify which ones are yours.

And then out they go.

Back outside to find their mama's.

Once we were done it was time to head back to the trucks, take off our gear and head to the house for a big lunch.

Brandings are generally some hard work and a lot of fun. It's a great chance for friends, neighbors and family to get together and help each other out. Most are quite the social event!

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