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Who branded early?

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still 2 feet of snow up in this water shed for idaho barley and spuds.... still got a few cows to calve yet... but did finish shovel the snow off the last round bale stacks today...
Just finished Friday, branded and freeze branded 38 replacement hiefers.
Picked a great day for it temps in the 60's and no wind, which is damn strange for SD.
the hubby has already been to 3 brandings in the valley and many more to come in the next week or so....ours will probably be more toward the end of the month :D :D ......welcome aboard puncher!!!
Got them done saturday! Nice day, not too hot, not too cold, not too windy - we must be living right :) Will still have the stragglers to do. Synchronized the heifers and are heat detecting on the cows. Turned the other bunch out. Have gotten 1 1/2 inches of rain in the last 2 weeks :!: :!: Yippee. And most amazing of all, we have irrigating water already. Usually are begging for it in april and our pond was full by march 24th! Better enjoy while we have it :wink: Good luck all
We branded 115 calves today, which took most of the afternoon. Saddletramp, Mrs. Soapweed, and I were the crew, and our sophomore son helped later in the day. Until he came along after school, the average age of the other three of us was fifty. We used our new "invention", and used horses to rope and drag the calves until their hind legs were secured about four feet off the ground. Then it was fairly easy to brand, vaccinate (2 shots), Synovex, castrate, and brand horns if needed.

I suppose we could have done the job faster with a calf table, but this way was more fun. It was challenging to always catch both hind feet for the system to work. It's probably not too big of an accomplishment for four people to brand 115 calves in an afternoon. On the other hand, putting things into perspective, if a crew of forty people branded 1150 calves in an afternoon, that would be considered a pretty fair undertaking. Anyway, we had fun and were pleased with the way our invention performed.
I was wondering if you got your invention put together and when you would be using it. What did you use to hold the rope? Glad to hear it worked and maybe post a picture sometime. I think it was even today I was wondering to myself while out riding thru the cows. We are just getting started so have lots of work ahead of us. It was 80 degrees today almost to hot for this time of year.
The wife and I did 85 head yesterday along with pregguarding their mommas. Will do the last two bunches next weak.Would be nice to be young again as we were both hurting by night. We gave up on the commuity brandings about six years ago because of the finding help problem and sorry cant make it to yours problem.
We are planning on branding about 200 head saterday. I've got a pretty good crew lined up. We quit the branding table about five years ago. People seem to like a good o'l fashion branding. In the past we would bring the herd to the corrals for branding, (this proved to be the hard part of the day)what with calves cutting back etc. Found it alot easier to take the portabals to the cows. we have not branding in the same place very often . This is a little early for us. I"m really trying to do my part to make it rain. Thought if I start this branding bussiness early enough we could get half a dozen storms by June :wink: We are the driest any old timers can remember. If any buddy has to much water send it are way. :) P.S. thats some were in the middle of montana :!:
seed stock, you are right about "taking the corrals to the cattle". We had portable panels set up out in the pasture, so didn't have to drive the pairs very far. Another advantage is that dust is kept to a minimum by putting the corral in a grassy area. We will do another bunch in the same location soon, but will move half the panels over a notch so that the new branding will be accomplished on fresh ground.

Glad we're not trying to brand today, as the wind is in excess of thirty miles per hour. It's warm, and the grass is trying to grow. The half inch of moisture we got out of our snows a couple weeks ago is evaporating fast. Looks to be a chance of rain the next few days. Maybe our school's prom tomorrow night will bring on a good thunderstorm. :wink:

P.S. seed stock, if you are raising "seed stock" be sure your bigger crew doesn't mess up and castrate some of those good male calves that you are intending to keep for bulls. With a big crew, it's easy to have things like that happen. Or if more than one brand is being used, invariably the wrong brand gets on the wrong calf. Been there, done that.
Soapweed, enjoyed reading your branding story. Sounds like a great way to go if you ask me. Branding used to be such a social time, then, like what has been mentioned on here, it is hard to get help. Going to a calf table turns a fun day into a lot of work (IMO). So what you did was the next best thing. It wasn't a real social event, perhaps, but you kept the fun in the duty.

We are sure interested in getting one of those forks from you, but would like to see how it operates for sure, or at least a photo. When you get time, I hope you will help us out by sending a photo.

It might have taken you a little while to get everything done, but I hate to be in a hurry on branding day. It is one of the most important days of the year. I can imagine how carefully everything was done with just the three or four of you.

I had a person talk to me about taking a colt to a branding and everyone was in such a hurry that it didn't turn into a very good deal for the young horse. What was the big yank? So they could get to the house and sit around the table and drink coffee. I guess I don't understand this mentality. Those good horses have to have a chance to be good. It takes awhile to get a green horse used to the fire, the smoke the people, etc. We used to say that if a horse didn't show he was gonna be a good one by the end of branding season, you just as well sell him and strart over. That was back in the days when horses were made by using them and the ranchers had an interest in how they turned out. Those places seem to be getting fewer and farther between.
Enjoyed reading all the great posts.

We still have quite a circle of neighbors we trade branding and other cattle work with. Haven't started yet, but suppose it will soon. We will probably be one of the last, waiting till school kids can be home. Most still use the branding fire. Some of us have Nordforks to help hold the calves due to track meets and such cutting into the available young guys to rassle calves. We also brand on grass with portable corrals. At two locations, they turn the cows out, then release the calves into the cow herd as soon as they are branded. Makes mothering up easy and leaving them in the same pasture after branding is less stressful on cattle and cowboys alike.

Sadly, the women don't participate as much in the sharing of cooking duties. Most of us are not "cowboys" either, and many have jobs away from the ranch. It's usually women in the family that share in the cooking, rather than other neighbors, it seems. Guess we should do something about that, as the visiting of neighbors is becoming a lost part of rural living. Guess we mostly do our visiting at church or local cafe/pub and other community meeting places.

Branded 350 calves on friday, same day as last year..lol. Had neighbors that I trade help with and some friends for a crew. Glad to get the main bunch done.
Last 2yr. old hf. calved today :) and only 25 cows left to calve.
baling wire said:
The wife and I did 85 head yesterday along with pregguarding their mommas. Will do the last two bunches next weak.Would be nice to be young again as we were both hurting by night. We gave up on the commuity brandings about six years ago because of the finding help problem and sorry cant make it to yours problem

We're going out to our first branding at the end of the month were my great uncle homesteaded in the Sand hills. If it turnsout the way I think it will maybe we can help out on other places.
We use portable panels too so always on clean ground-as for colts at brandings we usually sort off a pen of the smaller calves for guys to work colts on or else if some kids are roping for first few times. I never would hurry up a branding so I could go fencing lol. The ones I hate are guys who calve in February and brand in June-kind of hard on the ground crew-we usually hold the front and back legs with horses on those big calves. Remember the right way to do it changes every 50 miles but the only table at a branding should be a picnic table lol.
Yup, things change every 50 miles or maybe less. Thst's what I like about this board. When I was growing up, we were mostly a dryland farming community here, just barely made enough to live on. So we still have a farmer's mentality. We have the Sandhill ranchers to the south and the hard grass country to the north. Except for the irrigating farmers cattle are the main stay here now.

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