February had us vaccinating all the cows and calves. Here is our work crew. The finger in the photo belongs to our chief cow whisperer and photographer Cindy.
Everyone has a job to do. Mark, my honey, moves the cattle into the sweep and then into the narrow alley that puts the cows in a line up to the chute. He is the one who has the most direct contact with the cows and is in the most danger of getting kicked or ran over.
Alongside the alleyway is Cindy, where she whispers to the cattle and gives them nibbles of grass and a squirt of wormer down their backs (but not the animals that will be eaten this year) and takes photos. She multi-tasks. She is talented like that. Unfortunately, I could find no photos of her. I guess she's not into selfies, but she's kind, cute, blond and is married to this sweet guy.
Troy and Eric work the cattle chute. The cattle walk through the alley, past Cindy, and into the chute. Troy closes the chute's door behind them and then Eric works the lever that catches their heads. Troy then quickly pulls the lever that makes the chute squeeze up onto the animal's sides. The squeezing keeps the animal from moving around and also seems to calm them down. Sort of like Cindy's whispering did while they were in the alley. After they are caught Troy lifts the calves tails to find out if they are male or female, so we can prepare.
Next, Eric uses the bolus gun, that isn't really a gun at all, and gives the animals their pills.
Jo, our DIL, is always ready with the sharp needles and loaded syringes and gives vaccination injections to all the cattle and also a tetanus shot to all of the little bulls that are going to become steers. Which gets us to our next step.
Eric and Troy put on a special rubber band around the little bulls' testicles. This cuts off the circulation and eventually the testicles fall off and they will then be steers. The calves, not Eric and Troy.
My job is quality control and letting the animals that have been handled back out into the holding pen. I don't do much. I keep a book and write everything down and make sure everything gets done. Jo helps me with this too.
We give a big thanks to our cattle crew. You guys are all the best and we appreciate you.