taking a peek into branding on Rivercross ranch
Once every spring, Rivercross ranch hosts a branding event. They separate the calves from the cows, and then Release a group of calves into a fenced off field. The men and women who work on the ranch, and those with permission, then they start wrestling and holding the calves firmly on their sides. They give the calves vaccines, antibiotics, an ear tag with the calves number to tell each calf apart, they sear the horns off if needed and the castrate the male calves.
“We give the calves vaccines to prevent them from getting harmful diseases, and we castrate and cut their horns off to prevent them from turning into bulls.” Samantha Robinson, worker on Rivercross ranch explained, “If a calf became a bull, it would be much harder to handle because bulls are much stronger than a cow. We raise beef cows, and bulls are not the greatest for meat, because they are all muscle. We sear off the horns because they can be dangerous to the other cows and the ranchers.”
Many people don't approve of eating beef that was raised antibiotics. Because of this, the antibiotics they give the calves have to be a one time thing at branding. “The antibiotics are just to make sure the calves become a healthy adult cow, and to make sure that nothing at branding affected their health somehow. The antibiotics we give them all wash out within two months.” Explained Samantha Robinson. They give the calves a respiratory vaccine and a blackleg vaccine. Blackleg is a very dangerous disease to cows, creating an infection in the cow leg, this infection creates blood poisoning and often leads to death. The blackleg vaccine prevents cows from getting this fatal disease. The respiratory disease is an infection in the lungs, causing pneumonia for the cow, the respiratory vaccine is given to calves at branding to prevent this terrible disease.
Castrating is an important part of branding preventing the calves from turning into bulls. They neuter the male calves because bulls often tend to fight with each other, and are likely to attack a human, or at least try to. “Male cows that have been castrated are called steers. Steers are easily herded, and they do not resist the ranchers. Bulls however, are harder to get to go where you want them to go, and they often times like to resist rather than be controlled. Bulls are also bad in this case because they are much more muscular than a steer, and provide very little beef.” Samantha Robinson explained. The women cows are not spayed for reproductive purposes. It is rarely required, but when a calf has horns that are growing, they cut them off at branding for the safety of other cows and ranchers.
The calves are also given ear tags, these ear tags they give them on branding day are to tell each calf apart. Each calf is given a four digit number, for example 2709, this tag also contains the calves gender.
Calves are also given a brand usually, however this year Rivercross decided not to give them the brand, because it causes stress on the cows while it was being placed on them. The brand can also cause infection if done improperly. Because of these reasons, Rivercross decided it was best not to burn the brand this year. Branding is a crucial part in a cows life, giving cows the healthy life that they need to become good, healthy beef.
Fawcett News Network
A collection of news articles written by students of 6.1 and 6.2