This is what we do.
When all of our cows have finished calving we prepare them to head to summer grass. Our process includes branding, vaccinating, and implanting. All of our cows are branded so they receive one pre-breeding vaccination and a squirt of an insect repellant oily substance on their backs. Our cows get this shot each year before being bred and the timing allows the calf to gain protection from the mama cow.
The calves receive a brand to show ownership. If a calf would get out of the fence and wander, our neighbors would know whose calf it was. If someone were to steal a calf and try to sell it at a sale barn, the brand inspectors would know that person is not authorized to sell an animal with our brand. We use a hot electric branding iron that was plugged into a generator. ... ... ... & the big elephant in the room -- does it hurt to be branded? Yes, yes it does for a short period of time.
Calves get sick, just like some kids get sick. We utilize vaccines to mitigate our risk of calves getting sick. Each calf receives one nasal spray and two shots in the neck. Our goal is happy, healthy calves. These babies receive a tiny calf size squirt of the insect repellant same as their mamas for the same reason; repel insects.
Finally, we implant a growth promoting agent under the skin in the steer calves ear. We do this to improve our feed conversion; do more with less. The implant we use "stimulates the pituitary gland of the animal to produce increased amounts of somatotropin, the animal's own natural growth-promoting agent."
Our mission is to keep our animals happy and healthy the best we can. This means we gather, sort, and work them through the chute as efficiently as possible. Most of us have gone through the Beef Quality Assurance training to earn our certification, and aim to stress the animals as little as possible through the process.
We choose to handle our cattle this way. We work with a team of veterinarians, a nutritionist, and a family of multi-generational ranchers to develop a protocol that works for our unique situation and circumstance.
Will our practices change with new research or technological advances? Of course, they will! We've been adapting, moving, and pivoting for generations. That's how generational operations are here today.
Have a question about any of it? Have an assumption about part of it? Let's chat!
-Most of our branding crew for the 2021 big group. We worked the smaller group on Friday with a different crew of family. This was accomplished in short order because our family came to help. Without them, this would take us days. Literally days.