Having tripled the number of cows that are calving on the ranch that means we get to spend a significant more time tagging. And if we don’t spend a good chunk of tagging every day the number of calves needing tagging really piles up. In fact, we did have a few days pass by where we didn’t get to the tagging, which meant The Rancher and Rancher Sr. spent nearly the entire morning getting caught up.
The hard part isn’t necessarily that there are so many to do. Yes, it takes more time from their day, but they just expect that in the midst of calving and tagging season. What really stinks about missing days of tagging is that the calves get bigger and faster in such a short time. If we get to them within the first day of being born, they don’t really take off or aren’t too fast on those new legs. But give them a few days and they get a little stronger and a little wiser and take you for a chase! I tease The Rancher that its the best way he gets his running in. If he really wanted to go running so bad, he could just come in the mornings with me rather than letting the calves get too old. As you can imagine, he just rolls his eyes at me…
Tagging for us is pretty simple. With the heifer calves, we match the momma’s number to the calves. That’s mostly because they tend to forget which calf is there and need a little help (I’m so funny…). But its helps us to make sure everything is pairing up ok. With the older cows we are tagging the pure bred calves with an orange tag vs the sem-angus cross calves with a black tag. We differentiate which ear heifers and steers get tagged. Just a few things for us to see about the calf when we look at it. They all get their first round of shots and then the boys get castrated with a rubber cheerio.
When I write it all out like that, it seems like a lot more than what we do in reality. It only takes just a minute. And that sure is a good thing with so many babies and so many tags!