Grinding Tags

The calves have been sold and shipped to their new homes.

All we have left at the ranch are the replacements, or the heifers picked to become cows in the herd. There are also a few purebred bull calves that will (hopefully) sell in another year on the sale.

The new replacements need to be identified, so we have to make them new tags. The first number is the year they are born (the bred heifers were born in 2012). Then you just number off the rest. Newt likes to take out 10 year old cows that are still in the herd, so two animals don’t have the same number.

I personally like making tags. I’m not sure why, but I get great satisfaction seeing my numbers in their ears.

We use layered tags and a grinder. The grinder takes the first layer off, leaving the contrasting layer showing through.

First, I write the numbers on the tag, since the grinder is extremely permanent. Newt made me a cheat sheet (underneath the tag).

Tags with cheat sheet

I already made the red tags for the registered bulls, now I was on to the white tags for the replacement commercial heifers.

The grinder is a Dremel tool that spins around at several RPMs. It makes it somewhat difficult to make straight and even lines, but this is the only tool for the job.

Grind tag

Not too much pressure or you will grind completely through the tag. Not enough pressure and your line will be too thin and hard to see.

Finished grind

There… a finished tag, #220.

I like doing slender numbers better than 2’s or 3’s. You have so much more room with 1’s and 7’s. 8’s and 5’s are space hogs, too.

I pass the tag off to ReeRee who then removes the fines (or ground rubber bits) from the tag.

She had various techniques… wiping the grinds with her hand, or in this case, waving the tag through the air.

Shake off fines

Her job was to put the tags back in the bag.
Finished in bag

Nice and neat! It is nice to have a helper.

Our grinder quit halfway through the tags, so we had to borrow a neighbor’s.

It is always good to double check your work- I had forgotten a couple numbers. Better to check now, than to be at the corrals with no tag.

All that was left was to sweep and vacuum the fines from the table and floor.

All finished, until next year’s rookies will need tags starting with a 3.

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