Thursday, February 16, 2012

Calf Ear Rings..

Like many people we tag our calves within a few hours of being born.  This way we can identify them.  After a few they all start looking alike when they are the same color.  Or like this year they are all boys and just one little girl so far.  All of our cows has a number for her place in the herd. So that's how we tag the calves.  And then if we end up keeping a heifer she gets the same number as her mom with the year she was born added. 

this is the tagging gun.  the tag goes into certain parts to clip the tag in the calves ear.

we have a few cows that mark and his brother share.  so those calves get yellow tags.
that way when he's here he knows which calves are which.
the top number is the cows number, the bottom number is the day the calf was were born.

then the other side is the sires (daddy) name.

i wanted to show how big the tags are.  they look huge, but as they grow they fit perfect.

this is how the tags go into the tagging gun.

you have to feel the calves ear and hit a certain spot.
they have cartilage and vessels in their ears, just like us.
so we try to center the tag between all of that and then they are less likely to rip them out also.

when we are out checking the tags make it easier to put calf with cow.
this year all but two of our calves are solid black.  we have this blazed bull and an orange/white bull.
so the tags are a great help when we are checking to make sure everyone is healthy.

When the calves are weaned they will be processed.  Meaning we will take these tags out, give shots, treat for lice and castrate the bulls. The bulls go to sell to buy new bred cows or heifers.  If we decide to keep any of the heifers they get a new tag.  And it's a different kind that is less likely to rip or snag.  We try to put the new tag in the same hole as the original tag, so they only have one hole in their ear.  They then will be given a forever number that matches their moms. 

For instance Buckwheat (Lily's mom) is #22, and Lily is #022 because she was born in 2010 and her moms number is 22.  Lily is due to calve in 2 weeks.  If she has a heifer and we keep it, that calves number will be #222.  And we do have software that helps up keep track of everything with our cattle.  Shots, calving, death, selling, weaning, weights, what pasture they are in.  Even our semen and embryos.  It's very helpful when you want to look back at performance on certain cow families.  Till next time!


Alica said...

A good reminder...we have some calves that need tagging. However, ours are Holsteins, so their markings help us tell them apart if we don't get it done right away!
Do you breed your cows AI yourselves?

Dawson Cattle Company said...

We do ai as many as possible. We try to ai them at least 2xs. The vet puts in our embryos. Then after that we let the bull do the cleanup.

Alica said...

That sounds like us with our yearling heifers...we AI them once (to a jersey) if we catch them in a good heat, and our jersey bull does the cleanup. That way we get a tiny calf and easy first calving. The calf isn't worth much, but it's worth it to give the heifer an easy start!

twiggy@thedirtlife said...

wow! what a job. how do they handle it?

Buttons said...

Love the names. Been reading your post you have been busy. We have 28 calves wow I am getting tired now I think one more to go yeah I need a vacation.Take care. B

Dawson Cattle Company said...

They really don't like it. And you have to clip it quick or the can yank their head and that tears their ear. Its over quickly, just like when a girl gets her ears done. Thank you for visiting! I love you photos.

Dawson Cattle Company said...

It has been crazy, but I love it! I've been keeping up with you wonderful stories and photos too. I enjoy them so much. I got so worn out it got sick. Maybe a little rest this summer sometime for both of us. But I'm afraid that's wishful thinking.

The Durrer Family said...

We use yellow tags for our grade cattle and white ones for the registered. Our registered cattle are included in the National ID program, so they have a recorded tracking number. No more hand written tags, except for the ET-Sire notes on our embryo carriers.

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