Branding calves at the Pleasant Acres Ranch

When we brand and work the calves, they are already out in the summer pastures so we work them one pasture at a time.  If the pasture is large enough to handle over 70 pairs we will use ropers on horses providing we can get a big enough crew to rope calves while others work on the ground, as it is much faster than running the calves through a calf table.  If we are short on help we will use a calf table which eliminates the need for lots of help, but is also a slower process.  Below  is a photo journal of the 2004 branding at the Pierce pasture using ropers, and below that will be pictures showing the calf table method when this page is completed.

 2004 Branding using Ropers

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 The roundup is over as riders bring in 100 pairs to the home corral at the Pierce ranch where we pasture from June through October.  This place is 35 miles from home so we haul these pairs back and forth.



Three ropers move into the calves which have been sorted from their mothers.  Jessica wearing purple and her sister, Jenna, to her right are the daughters of Tom Waldock who is standing in the green with a pail in his left hand.  The roper on the left is Byron Holtan, a neighbor who ranches ten miles south of us.


Byron is dragging a calf out to the ground crew while Jessica is going back for another one.



Son Elmer with the chinks and a friend Clint take the front and backend of this calf so it can be worked on the ground.


Both girls have loops in the air looking for a decent shot at a set of back feet (heels).



 Byron has snagged a pair of heels, jerked his slack, dallied to the saddle horn, and is turning away to pull the calf out.


 Jenna is bringing another one....Clint is diving for a front leg



She watches her dad working on the calf while she coils the rope for another trip to the calf pen


 And here she comes with another one


 Tom performs surgery on this bull soon to be a steer while Elmer keeps the back legs from taking his chin off.


 Jessica's purple jacket is hanging on the fence in the picture above, as she and her black bring out another calf



 She keeps the rope tight until Arlen at the head and Matt Matheny at the back feet have the calf subdued


 Clint with complete control of the front end eyes the camera while Tom operates on another nice calf



 Jessica watches the two Matts....Gilbertson at the head and Matheny on the hind legs while she coils her rope.  She is studying veterinary science at Ames, Iowa and we hope she will help alleviate the shortage of large animal vets in ND


 Almost done



 Elmer's friend, Katie, does the vaccinating....the syringe fills automatically from a bottle strapped to her arm


2005 Branding using Portable Tub and Calf Table


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Maurice Pierce sitting by the portable tub which funnels the calves to the calf table.  Maurice ranched here until he retired 5 years ago.  He is keep track of the rope we use to tie a leg back when castrating bull calves.



Arlen running the levers which tilts the calf onto her side....tag in the left ear is a heifer calf and right ear is a bull or steer.


Marina from Russia was not too excited by the task she was given which was to spray the calves with a fly spray as they left the chute....not enough to do



After the calves were worked the cows were run through the tub where they received a couple "breed back" vaccinations .

Arlen chatting with Marion Pierce (this was her grandparent's homestead) during slack time...notice vaccine bottle in the shirt with hose running to a self loading syringe.



Arlen hanging over the wall trying to reach a cow with the syringe....she had her neck tucked down below other cows.

Marion Pierce, Marina from Russia, and Ronna with smiles.... and none look as weathered as the barn wall....not sure if that is a compliment or not



Table full of chow waiting for the work to be done.  Marion's mother was a local legend as a horsewoman riding green broke horses until she was in her 80's.  Now Marion pictured on the right is keeping the legend alive.

2005 Branding using only Calf Table

The windmill in the picture to the right is by the old corral where we work the calves in the Sethen pasture which is only a couple miles south of the ranch.  The corral is run down, so we use portable steel panels to reinforce the weak spots and to make a runway to the calf table.  We get so wrapped up in what we are doing that we forget the esthetics of our surroundings.  This is still a functional windmill with an automatic shut off.


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Not as many helpers, so more work for Marina which made her happy.  Here she is reloading the insecticide tag applicator.



Elmer vaccinates the calf while Marina is putting a tag in the calf's ear to keep the flies away.


Arlen holds the rope that keeps a leg back while Elmer performs surgery on this soon to be steer.




One hand holding the tail to keep it out of the hot iron, and the other holding the branding iron....and also trying not to breathe.



Rusty takes a break from pushing the calves through the runway to the calf table.



Mothers in the waiting room






All done with fresh brands on the right will be a ride to a different pasture before they see mother


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