Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Today's Chore: Tattooing our Registered Cattle

Tatum in "her" new bed when we left the house.
Don't work too hard Tatty-cakes!

We've had some pretty nice weather these last few days so Dan the Man decided that we had better get busy and get some "outside" work done with the cattle that we had been putting off, so today we tattooed our registered Lowline cattle.

For those of you who don't know what that means, I'll fill you in.

There are several different breeds of cattle. I'm sure you have heard of some of them, even if you don't know squat about cattle. I bet all of you have heard of an Angus, that is a breed of cattle. Some other breeds include: Herefords, Limousin, Gelbvieh, Simmental, Maine-Anjou and Charolais just to name a few. Cattle come in different breeds just like cats and dogs. We have Lowline cattle and Angus. Most of our Lowline are registered, so the calves that we have from these registered cows we have also registered. The purpose for registering a cow is so that their pedigree is recorded. The pedigree refers to their, lets say, family tree.

A registration number consist of three things: a herd i.d., a number and a year code. So, our herd i.d. is A-2 (Open A Bar 2 Ranch). The year code is a letter for a certain year, like 2008 was "U" and 2007 was "T". The number is what ever number the breeder wants to use. For instance, one cow we tattooed today was born in 2008 and had an ear tag number of 848, so she got a tattoo of "A-2 848T". Not that complicated but you have to make sure you don't goof up on any one's number.

I don't particularly like this chore and the cows don't care for it much either, but Dan the Man tells us that "it's the rules." Both ears must be tattooed. I asked Dan the Man why cuz I didn't think that it would be too likely that a cow would lose one ear. He said he thought that it might be because sometimes you can't read one tattoo so you have a "backup." Sounds good to me. He could tell me all kinds of things and I would probably (and have in the past) believed him before since I didn't grow up on a ranch.

The process it's self doesn't take that long IF the cow cooperates. It is the equivalent of getting your ears pierced. They usually cooperate for the first ear, but when it's time to do the second one, they really don't want to go through it again. Luckily Dan the Man does it fast and it's over before they know it. I try to tell them it will be "like a pinch" to calm them but they know I'm lying when it comes time for the second ear.

I then try to tell them I have four piercings in one ear, one of which I did myself with a potato.

I know... what was I thinking?

What was the potato for?

I was young and stupid and that's all I have to say about that.

So here is how it goes. You load the cow in the chute and have them stick their head in the head catch for you. That way they can't back up and get away from you. Next you rub tattoo ink on the portion of the ear where you are putting the tattoo. You rub the ink with a tooth brush. We couldn't find the one that we usually use so we grabbed one of the kid's. They'll never know, they never use them! LOL just joking. We bought a toothbrush for this! But some of our kids and they know who they are, don't brush their teeth everyday like they should... *Big sigh* What is a parent to do?

Anyway, back to the tattooing, not teenage hygiene!

Once you have the ink in the ear, and the correct tattoo pins in the pliers, you ask the cow to stand still while you position their ear in the pliers and squeeze fast and release. You do all this without smashing your fingers, arms, wrists, and whatever else gets caught up in the cow's head throwing. Actually, it's not quite that bad, but some cows are. Then you take a little more ink and the brush and make sure that the piercing has got plenty of ink in it. There are no re-dos. You have to make sure you get it right the first time. Then you proceed to the next ear with the same process.

The tattoo pliers with the A-2 pins in it.

This is what the A-2 tattoo looks like.

Hosea waiting in the chute for his turn!
"Don't tell me you are going to pierce my ears! I'm not a girl!"

Waiting her turn with her head in the head catch.

Rub the ink on the ear.

Squeeze the pliers firm and fast!

More ink in the piercings.
(Almost done!)

All done now "let me out of here!"

Flock of Canadian Geese flying over head. Love our office!

You have to click on these geese ones for the full screen version,
just remember to hit your browser's back button to get back to the blog.

Whoa, who's leading this flock?

With a "good job done" as the infamous Hughie Corkle would say,
we returned home to find Tatum hard at work!

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