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alternative to wrestling calves...

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Jun 17, 2010
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Lately we have been having troubles finding enough people to wrestle calves at our brandings. We are also having some issues with calves suffering trauma due to being handled too roughly by the wrestlers.
I don't want to use a tipping table. That is out of the question.
But what other options are out there that people are using? I've seen Nord forks and deadmans.
What are the advantages to the way you are doing it?
They all work pretty well-I actually own a share in a calf table but I told my partners about twenty years ago I`d forfeit my claim lol. If were roping bigger calves we just rope a single and the head-tip them over and put the head rope on the front and double the backs after they are tipped. I`m pretty lucky to have a good knowledgeable crew that hasn`t changed in years. We weeded out the drunks, team ropers and yayhoo`s years ago. I think we`ll have a two dayer at the Waldorf this year got a bit of other cow stuff to take care of branding day. The funniest thing I think is the calf table guys bragging about how fast they can jam them through-branding day is branding day I`m not in a hurry to get done so I can go cultivate or fix fence lol. Good work done by good people with good cattle on good horses is what makes it something to look forward too.
at my neighbors place we do right at 400 head in one daystarting branding by 10 done by 2 at the latest and there is not a horse in sight for miles.we limit the number of teams to 3 and bring in 10 at a time we have 2 branders and do a full pfizer gold program.of vaccinations ,id tag.and knife cut.and process over 100 an hour.without roughing up the calves. the owner would not toleate that.
We've used Nordforks in the past, and got along fine. My only gripe is that the calves are sore for a few days after. Soapweed's gizmo looks much better since they don't have a 1000 pound horse pulling on the other end, just their own weight. Soap's device and Nordforks are nice since there are no wrestlers sitting on them, and it's very easy to vaccinate them. If we branded more calves in a day, I'd go that route... but for now I'm sticking with a table since I much prefer a small crew to brand.

I'm the first to admit I'm much better managing cattle than I am people... just ask the people who try and help me :wink: :lol: :D .
Y'all might find this hard to believe, but our little crew farmered up and tried out a tipping table today. :? :roll: :???: After dinner, three of us gathered 144 pairs, corraled them, and sorted the cows away from the calves. We started branding at 2 p.m. and finished the last calf at 6:45. That would be 285 minutes to do 144 calves, so it took us just about exactly two minutes per calf. I thought this might be a speedier method than our calf traps, but they end up being about the same as far as time per calf with a small crew. We did pick a nice day to do the job. After hearing about the big community brandings that took place last Thursday and Friday, when the wind was howling at fifty miles per hour both days, it made us remember why we like to do our own calves on chosen days at our own speed.
The biggest difference between having a wrestling crew and nordforks or ropes and inner tubes is that you have to have a crew that can rope and handle their horse. Nordforks are probably easier on a calf than any comparable method if they are used correctly. I am not promoting any certain culture, for lack of better terms, but a slick horn is probably best in my opinion. If the roper will slide some rope and not keep pulling on the calf it does wonders. It is also a must to tie an inner tube between your stake and your forks. I help a friend that uses forks, we brand about 825 or more in about 4.5 to 5 hours with a crew of between 20 and 25.
We've built a gizmo and used it one year, but prefer the Nordfork because it holds the calf better, and easier to work the head. Just what ya get used to maybe.
Really liked the Johnson table , better then the blue one we use. usually only 3 or 4 of us in my crew
Johnson Calf Table
Sheridan Iron Works
A self-contained unit made up complete at the factory with nothing to assemble. It holds the animal securely around the body and neck, the amount of tension being controlled entirely by the operator. Table tips back and stays in position without fastening. It is designed for right hand as well as left hand operation. Recommended for calves up to 300 lbs.
Big Muddy rancher said:
hayguy said:
soorrrry like i said i'm kinda ignorant but i still would like to know why not

just askin

Ya see?

EVERYBODY that uses a table is "Farmer in a hurry". :roll:

We might be farmers but branding day here is a whole day affair so there is no rush,after branding is done then i take the crew out for supper and then i pick up the tab at the end of the night at our neighbouring watering hole.The reason we use a table,because there isn't a person on my crew that likes horses and that includes me.
We took the tube & rope off the nordfork & replaced it with 5/8th inch shock cord , way more forgiving on the calves , Just have to let off more for your release of the calf .

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