Tuesday, September 23, 2008

"Working" Cows

Often you will hear people use the phrase, "working cows" or "working cattle." As in: What did you do today? We worked cows. What will you do tomorrow? Work cows. I kept asking, HOW??? HOW do you "work" cows? What are you actually doing? So, I was invited one afternoon to the end of a day of "working" cows. Here's what we did:

1. (done before I got there) Get all the cows & calves into a pen
2. Move them from a big pen into a smaller pen (see photo above)
3. Separate the cows from the calves (no photos, I was working)
a. Smack the cows on the butt and get them to walk away from you
b. Smack the calves to get them to start walking
c. Lead the calves into one pen, the cows into another
d. Yell at them to make them go the right way
e. Lead them all back to the start when cows went to the calf pen
f. Lead them all back to the start when calves went with the cows
4. Lead 5-10 calves into a tiny pen
a. See above a-f when trying to move calves
b. Get the calf who jumped in out of the watering hole
5. Lead the calves one by one into a shoot (use "hot shot" cattle prod when needed)
6. Vaccinate calves one by one
7. Let them back into the pen with their moms
8. Lead all the cows & calves out of the pen to the road
9. Get on a 4-wheeler and drive behind them down the road
10. Get all 140 cows & calves into the field across the street.

FAQ 1: What do you "smack" them with?
A cattle prod. It looks like a blind-person's stick- rubber, thin, with an orange tip.

FAQ 2: Does it hurt the calves?
NO WAY!! Most of the time they didn't respond at all to it.

FAQ 3: What's the "hot shot"?
It's the electric version of the cattle prod. It didn't hurt either.

FAQ 4: Was it dangerous?
Kinda. I did get stepped on. These things outweighed me by hundreds of pounds, so when they wanted to go somewhere, I just got out of the way.

For more photos go here and click to the right.

For some new photos of the Grizzly's game we went to in Missoula go here and click to the left.

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