So in the last couple of weeks we gathered all the cattle and brought them to the barn for sorting and vaccinating. After the dust cleared we had a bunch of cull cows about 200 young cows and replacement hiefers and 450 head of calves that wieghed between 250 and 600 lbs. About half the calves had a cough so I convinced my boss that we should vaccinate them. This should have been done at branding and again at weaning but the former manager wanted to keep the calves "organic". However, he forgot to market them as organic so they just ended up crappy. After working 450 calves I was glad to get back to some real cowboying. Vaccinating calves that are already a little sick is a tricky proposition. If you don't stay on top of the doctoring then you can actually end up with sicker calves. Over the last two weeks I've doctored about 70 head of calves. Most days I doctor 5 or 6 head mostly by myself.
This has been pretty hard on my horses. My good solid gray horse stepped on a nail and put a hole through his heel. He's still pretty sore on it but seems to be getting better. My roan horse is cinch sore for some reason. I've only ridden him a half dozen times but it bothers him when I mount so bad he acts like he'd like to lay down. At first I thought his withers or back were sore but he didn't flinch when I poked and prodded them but when I found the cinch sores he really didn't like it.
The only horse that is still working sound and healthy is my good Appy horse. He wants to hump up and buck some mornings but he's always ready when there's work to do. I've roped about half the calves I've doctored on him and he's really getting good about it.
My boss bought me a new rope on monday. It was a very nice gesture and earned him a lot of loyalty from me. The downside is that the rope is a 3/8 th scant as apposed to the 5/16 ropes that I have been using for the last several years. It's less than an eight of an inch difference but the feel is a lot different. It also has a tied honda instead of a metal one like I've been used to. The first day I used it I missed so many times my arm got sore from swinging the rope so much. After using it for a week I've finally got used to it enough that I am catching pretty good again.
The farm managers 15 year old kid bought a two year old filly with about 3 weeks worth of training on her. The kid doesn't know much but he's very willing to learn and he's been riding with me the last couple of days. The filly really fills in for him when he needs it and he's doing a good job of staying out of her way when he needs to. As most of you know I'm not a fan of green on green but this pair seems to be working out. He's been helping me doctor calves and if he stays interested it's going to help my horses. I rope the calves and he rassles them to the ground (sometimes). A lot of the time I can get the calves to trip up on my rope and if someone can hold them down before they get up then I don't have to choke them as much and my horses don't have to take as much jerking.
All in all it's been a great couple of weeks. Even when it's freezing cold and the wind is blowing 30 mph it's still great.
I had a pretty good wreck today. Actually it was the best kind of wreck because nobody got hurt and nothing got broke. I roped a calf to doctor it and it ran under a shed and around a cement column that holds up the roof. The kid that was helping me got off his horse and chased the calf around the column one more time so that it was snubbed up pretty good. Since I didn't want to risk losing the calf I tied my rope off and stepped off my horse to fill the syringe and give the calf a shot. Well, the calf started to struggle and being as this is not the first calf my horse has been tied to he leaned right back on that rope. Saddly, I hadn't checked my cinch in a while and my saddle started sliding forward. The more it slid forward the harder that horse went backward. I hollered at the kid to ...let go of the calf and get clear so he wouldn't get caught between the column and the rope or the calf. The calf saw his chance and unwound from the pole and ran a circle around my horse. Things happened pretty fast after that and it's not real clear in my mind why things happened just how they did but my horse ended up on his back with the calf snubbed a little too close for comfort to him. I finally got my knife dug out from under all my clothes and chaps and cut the calf loose. The horse stood up like nothing had happened and after resaddling him and tying my honda back on we roped the calf and doctored him like we did this stuff for a living.