So the cow (or heifer) has managed to have a calf. Preferably on her own, with no pulling from Newt or cutting the calf out at the vet’s. We like uneventful.
You have managed to step over the “cleanings” and various soft, smelly cowpies.
Now what? Time to tag!
First, sneak up on the untagged calf. This is easier when the calf is little and wobbly. After a couple days, the calf can outrun you.
You hope he has a nice mommy, who won’t eat your lunch and crush your ribs into the ground with her big head. (Have I mentioned a bull encounter in my early years, left me…. traumatized? Well, it did.)
Newt does not share my fear of large wooly cattle, so he moozies over to the calf. He carried the necessary tools: tagger, tag, scale and rope (for the purebreds). In the instances of mean cows, he also carries a small bat to deter them from eating him alive. Some cows are very protective of their babies.
Now a quick grab. Newt pretends he’s a calf roper and flanks the calf to the ground.
Or in this case, grabs the feet. The calf tumbles to the ground. Newt ties the calf’s legs together, so he can pick up the calf with his scale and record the weight. (The weight is combined with other data, so you can predict what to expect from the bull.)
The calf is released from his rope. Newt lifts up the back leg of the calf (to look for bull parts) or lifts up the tail (to look for heifer parts). You will be quizzed over this later.
Then the calf is tagged with his mom’s number. This way, we know which calf goes with which cow. Helpful when the cow dies and you need to get the calf in so it doesn’t starve. Or when a heifer is confused and claims the wrong calf. A rancher needs to sort these situations out.
This calf is spunky! Look at his tail wag! LET ME GO!
There, the tag is in.
The calf is back to his mom and ready to get a drink of milk. Or suck milk from her udder. Or as Newt says, “Mop titty.”
Red tags are for Newt’s and my registered Angus animals. The white tags are for the half bloods (half black Angus, half Corriente). The color system was more complicated when his brothers, grandmother, and dad’s timed event cattle were in the mix (purple, green, orange, red, and white tags).
ReeRee wanted to pet the calf. So she chased him around a while. Newt finally caught him, so she could give him a pat.
And last, but not least, you must record your data.
Tag number: 64. Birth date: March 1st. Sex: H for heifer, B for bull. Did we lift the tail or pull up the leg? Weight: 68 pounds. Just a little gal. Sire: what bull is the calf out of. Dam ID: (not Damnit ID) whose the mom and what is her tag number. When a calf is grafted on to another cow, she would have a different tag number than the calf.
Here’s to a successful calving season! Mop some titty, little calfy!