As ranchers around the country complete the branding of their calves as the weather prevented some from getting it finished when they wanted to and it is why I'm glad we don't brand. We have never found it necessary to brand our cattle, their not on extremely wide range pastures and we are the only place with Hereford cattle for quite aways besides my Uncle but his cattle have red tags and horns so it wouldn't be that hard to tell them apart! We simply tattoo our calves for identification and I am going to share with you a little bit more of that process.
We tattoo our calves when they are at least three weeks old, so we end up tattooing about three, four times in the year. It takes about four people, one person tattooing, one changing numbers in the pliers, one behind calves pushing them forward and vaccinating in chute and one person out pack putting them into the alley.
One part of the tattoo which is placed in the top of the right ear is the herd prefix letters, so for example Lilybrook Herefords cattle are tattooed with LBH meaning they are a Lilybrook Hereford calf, my calves have the prefix LBHR, and my two siblings are LBHM and LBHD. And the at the bottom of the ear we put the number of the calf and the year letter, this year being Y. After the tattoos have been put in, we rub black tattoo ink into the holes, so that it will be easily readable!
It is also at tattooing time that we vaccinate our calves by giving them three shots to protect them from various diseases and viruses.
The final thing that we do while the calves are in for tattooing is insert an RFID tag that can be read by scanning machines showing the person the calves information and can be used to identify cattle.
Tattooing is a simple straight forward process that makes it easy to identify our animals if they ever lose a tag or something else happens! If you have any questions on the process please don't hesitate to ask.