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Small Tipping Calf Chute
We use a small tipping calf chute to brand calves with an electric branding iron, which saves us the chore of keeping wood on a fire. Since our calves are born in January and February, they have a lot of thick, heavy hair. One trick we've discovered is that if we clip hair away from the area we're branding with a small hand-held electric clippers, the job goes much easier and quicker. You don't have to burn down through all that hair and you get a neater brand. ft's also less painful to the calf and the brand is quicker to heal. When you burn down through hair, it often catches on fire and heats up a larger area of flesh, often giving the calf a deeper and much more serious burn. With the hair clipped off, you just touch the iron briefly to the calf. Even with a short-haired calf, it really helps to clip before branding.
We've found that the same is true when using a dehorner. to burn and sear horn buds or to sear the area where horns have been scooped out. If you clip the area first, you don't get as much burning hair and damaged tissue around the horn.
Another idea we discovered is a way to keep a cow from kicking if you have to milk her out or make her suckle a strange calf. We simply tie a rope around the cow's flank area, ahead of the udder and just behind the hip bones. When you tighten it up, it puts pressure on several major nerves and makes it harder for her physically to bring a leg forward to kick. Don't make it too tight or it may actually temporarily paralyze the cow's hindquarters and she might fall over. This is a lot easier than trying to tie up a cow's hind leg. (Heather Smith Thomas, Salmon, Idaho)

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1992 - Volume #16, Issue #2