Working Calves


The herd made their way back over to the land of green about a week ago.  The photo above shows what everyone did as soon as they crossed back over to the “old” side of the farm.  They have been wintering on the “new” side of the farm where we are working to clear land to put into more pastures.

Anytime a holiday rolls around it seems like it is cattle working time.  Except in July- we try to do as little as possible in the middle of summer here, it is just too hot. 🙂  We got all the calves caught and worked so we can start the weaning process here soon!  Even though we only had ten calves to work, I ran into a few issues along the way.  Two of the steer calves decided to lung forward in the headgate and take my syringe with them as I was trying to give them a shot.  What do you do in that situation?  Either I let go or risk losing a finger or getting hurt.  I let go…and what did I get back?  A bent needle.  A bent needle needs to be thrown away because if you try to use it again it can break off into the animal and in that case you have to fish a needle out of their neck or the animal has to live out its days on your farm.  You cannot sell a calf that has a needle in its neck because it may migrate somewhere else and end up in a primal meat cut area.  Another fun thing is giving a shot to a fuzzy necked calf.  It is really hard to see where hair meets skin and when giving a subcutaneous injection it is easy to shoot out the vaccine on the other side of the skin.  Good times.  Especially when you have 10 doses for 10 calves. 🙂  We got it all sorted out and everyone is vaccinated, dewormed, weighed, and happy despite the few issues along the way.


I have to say, dad and I make a pretty good team working calves!  He usually pushes calves through, weighs them, and I catch them and vaccinate/deworm them.  After we work calves, I log all of the information and update our records!  That involves recording calf ID, weight, vaccines given, and dewormer given.  I also record the side of the neck the vaccine and dewormer was given on, serial/lot number, expiration date, route of injection, and any other important information.


This information is critical when there are withdrawal periods involved.  You need to know when a product was given and when the withdrawal period is up so the calf can be sold/marketed.  In this case, we gave an injectable dewormer with a 35 day withdrawal time for cattle.  That means, the product is active in their system for 35 days and that animal cannot be sold for slaughter (or in my opinion sold to any unknown source such as through a sale barn) until 35 days has passed and the product is out of their system.  Recording vaccine information can be very important in the event that an animal has a reaction.  You can easily identify the vaccine by the serial/lot number and know which side of the neck the vaccine was given on.  I cannot say enough good things about becoming Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) certified and understanding the right way to do things when it comes to taking care of beef cattle and record keeping.  It is very important!



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