Spring Work


After all the calves have been born, and before we turn the bull in for breeding, we “work” the cattle. This involves putting number and fly tags in their ears, vaccinations, treatment for internal and external parasites, and castrating the males by “banding” them. They don’t like any of it much, but for us it’s nice to get to see each one up close and personal.

My brother works for our vet and he is kind enough to give up part of his Saturday afternoon to do the work for us. My dad also came and helped run them into the chute (so I didn’t have to!). Matt, of course, was also running them in, and Madeline was helping match up ear tags to the correct calf. Her participation was part of her 4-H beef project this year.


All of Matt’s hard work building the corral paid off. The cows and calves were much easier to round up and herd through the chute.


Except for “Wild Thing”, who lived up to her name by jumping a gate.


The calves were sorted off and run through the chute first. This provides a little incentive to the mama’s to go through, too, to get reunited with their babies. Here’s Miss Petey after having her ears “pierced”.


One of the Hereford cows. Unfortunately I couldn’t stick around to watch the bull come through.


To the left is the newest calf, Spunky. For comparison, to the right is Fudge, who was born about 3 1/2 months earlier. Just like our kids, they grow up fast!

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4 Responses to Spring Work

  1. Zanne says:

    Question. Are you required by law to number the livestock and keep records?

  2. pablo says:

    Nice sequence of photos. I’ve never farmed, but I have been present for this kind of cattle work on a couple of occasions. Kind of reminds me of dealing with our health insurance company.

  3. Suzanne – At this point the numbering is for our own records. It isn’t required by the government yet. But Madeline’s stockers that she’s taking to the county fair are required to be numbered and recorded with the 4-H program.

  4. Those are great pictures. They really give a good sense of what is happening..