Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Doctoring calves.

Last week it seemed like Clint was having to doctor a few calves a day in the first group of first calf heifers.  This is a pretty good indicator that the group needs to be branded, so they can also get an 8-way shot to help with the respiratory illness. 

But with calving still going strong in other groups of cows, it's hard to carve out an extended period of time to get the calves worked.  So until they get them branded (hopefully this week), he drives through the group daily and doctors whatever looks a little off.

But those calves are pretty smart, and they're catching on to him -

They know when they see a guy step out of the pickup with a rope that they need to be on alert.  :)

When calves are really sick, you can usually just walk up to them and catch them.  But Clint likes to try to catch sickness early, since it's easier to treat a calf that's a little off of their game vs. totally laid flat out.  So that means you can't really sneak up on them and catch a hind foot - you have to rope them.

Unless it's night time - then as Ty says "You can put the sneak on them!".

And he's right. 

But we'd rather be at home eating dinner when it's dark, so the guys doctor during the day. Usually one guy will rope the calf, and then the other will flank it and doctor it.



As we were driving through the group this weekend, I tried to figure out what the baby calves were thinking....


"Who is that guy looking for?  Not me, I'm allergic to needles."

 

"Is it you?  Maybe you're the one he's looking for."


"Me?  Who, me?  If I can't see you, then you can't see me.  Right???"


Whatever they're thinking - they try their best to not get caught.

But Clint's a pretty good shot, and quietly gets the calf roped and then doctors it quickly and efficiently so he doesn't cause additional stress.  After a shot, they get a chalk mark on their body so that the guys know when they were doctored (a mark on the right hip means Saturday, right rib means Sunday, etc.) and away they go back to their mothers.

So far it's worked - and re-treats have been few.  The goal is to be able to drive through the next day, and see the calf they doctored the day back at 100% and playing and bucking across the field.

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