Friday, October 26, 2012

Calf Marking

Right. So, last Saturday we marked the calves. At the farm. There were exactly 34 calves. Or was it 35 including the young heifer? Or was it 34 including her?... Hmmm.

Marking the calves is an all-day affair. Everyone eats a hearty breakfast (we had pancakes at our house), the lunch is packed (we grabbed ham, cheese, tomatoes and bread rolls fresh from the shop on our way out to the farm), the ute is loaded with all of the paraphernalia (tags, hats, kids and dogs) and we head off out the back.

'Out the back' is a rough description of the back area of the farm, funny that! Anything over the first lot of hills is termed 'out the back'. Or maybe that's my town-girl notion. Whatever, it's a bit of a trek up some steep hills, along the rocky track and through a number of gates...

To the cattle yards.

Can you see them yet? The yards are in a rather nice spot. Alongside a creek.

Then the real fun begins. The boys head out on motorbikes to bring the cattle in to the yards. This is when you will hear my heart beating VERY loudly! I stayed at the yards and waited. Waited for those cows. Those cows and their calves = protective cows. Who don't like to be told to head into a small gateway, into the yards. I will just now say that there is a lot of running (me especially!) and a lot of noise! But somehow when you don't ever think they are never going to all be contained in the yard, ever, it just happens. Phew!

And the calves are lovely. I like the chocolate ones best ;-)

 The cows and calves are run through the race. We marked the young boy calves, and drenched all of the calves. All were given an ID tag and a farm tag. The cows were also checked, given a vaccination and re tagged if they were missing one.

At the end of the day (we finished in daylight amazingly!), we all sat down and had a cuppa. Lovely stuff. Nothing like a hard-earnt cuppa! Especially when this is your view... don't mind the cow poo mud!

And when your cuppa and arvo tea are served out of a vintage esky, life is good :-)


The dog(s) were grateful to be finished too, not that they got a cuppa...

And that, my friends, was calf marking. Though this year we have had a technological breakthrough! All animals were noted down in a notepad then entered into a spreadsheet. The farmer now has a list of the cows he wants to sell and as he checks the cows he can note the number of their calf to sell with them. Amazing what technology can do you know! Well, tomorrow it is lamb marking...  And I have scones to cook (for morning tea), clothes to pack (we take spares and the kids pajamas) and the school run to do. So I'm off. Ciao.

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