Livestock Branding on the Ranch
“Livestock branding is a technique for marking livestock so as to identify the owner.”
Ranching is hard work. All the calves have to be branded, vaccinated, tagged, castrated and some de-horned, and sometimes other various treatments. A lot of farmers and ranchers take the easier way out and run the cattle through a chute and into a calf cradle. Less time and manpower. That is how we used to brand and handle our cattle.
Having been brought up on a working ranch there was nothing authentic in my mind about using a calf cradle to get this job done. I never bothered to take any photographs of our brandings.
I ran into a schoolmate at an equine function and we were visiting. Her branding was coming up in the near future and she invited me to attend so I could take photos of a real western branding. Well, I have gone for three years now and usually take a couple hundred shots each year.
This is a well orchestrated event. Everyone has a job and they trade off the ground work and anyone that wants to rope calves gets a chance to do so. The women are as well seasoned ropers as the men. All of their children and grandchildren included. The calves are roped by their hind legs and brought to the ground crew. It does not take them long to run through a couple hundred head of calves.
The day is capped off with refreshments and a fine meal.
Thank you Lynnie for letting me be a part of your authentic cowboy and cowgirl branding.