From Pipi’s Pasture: You can count on it
We haven’t branded our calves yet, but my brother Duane Osborn got his done this past weekend. Our son Jody and Cindy came up from Vernal to help. Tom Clevenger from Craig and friend Tyler helped out, too.
It was a cool but nice day, and the branding went well– right up to the time that the cows were being turned out to summer pasture, and then three calves turned back. It wasn’t a serious problem. Their mothers came back for them, but it reminded me that that there’s always something that goes “not according to plan” where branding is concerned. You can count on it. It doesn’t matter where the branding is taking place, and every year is different.
For example, there’s the weather. This year Duane’s branding went as planned, but most of the time it has to be rescheduled at least once because it rains; sometimes it even snows. Most of the time we have to hurry up the branding because the sky is threatening rain. The wind almost always blows. You can count on it.
This is the first year in some time that the corrals have dried out before branding which seems strange because it seems that we had a lot of snow during the winter. Most of the time we have to wear boots to get through the mud, especially here at Pipi’s Pasture. You can count on every spring to be different.
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Sorting calves from the cows is probably the worst part of branding day. During sorting it is real easy for a calf to sneak out with a cow. If that happens the calf has to be rounded up again and put back in the sorting pen. Of course some cows go back in with him. At our place it’s a job to get the calves into the little pen behind the calf chute. It seems as if the calves and helpers go around and around the corral before they can get the calves get into the pen. You can count on it.
Once the calves are sorted off they have to be pushed into a little alleyway and then into the chute. Helpers moving the calves are subject to getting stepped on and kicked, and don’t let the word “calves” mislead you. Their little hooves can do some damage. The last calves are always the biggest and have to be chased around and sometimes even wrestled.
Some calves move down the alleyway backwards and have to be turned around. Other times a calf manages to slip through the head catch before it’s closed. The calf escapes into the corral and has to be chased back to the sorting pen. We’ve even had calves slip through the little space between the alleyway and chute. This year there were no escapees during branding. See what I mean? You can count on each year to be different.
We still have to brand calves here at Pipi’s Pasture. Who knows what the day will hold?
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