Notes From The Ranch: Spring Branding

Spring is branding time. Each year as Winter passes in California, mother
cows begin to have their calves. As the calves start to grow, they must be
processed, which includes branding and vaccination. 

Vaccinations area administered to help prevent serious illness and death loss and are critical to the long-term health of the livestock. Identifying ownership of livestock is as old as time. Today, livestock owners have brands registered in their state Livestock Identification Bureaus. 

A ranch's brand can hold special significance beyond identification. Often passed down through generations, brands are symbols that many times reflect the ranch's history, values, and commitment to the land and animals. For the people who work on the ranch, the brand represents a sense of identity. At Vogt, we have a long tradition of crafting custom pieces to showcase brands in a unique way. These items are timeless heirlooms that serve as tangible symbols of the owner's legacy.



Angela and I recently helped our friends, the Hammerness family, brand at their Capay Valley ranch. The included pictures show how the branding crew
works together to get the job done. 

The cows with their calves are gathered in a holding facility – a “corral” –
so the calves can be accessed. A very efficient way to restrain the calves is by
roping them from horseback – a refined skill – and then taking them close to the
branding fire. The ropes are placed on the front and hind legs and the calves are
then processed. This takes only a few minutes, and the calves are then released
back to their mothers.

Everyone gets a turn working on the ground doing processing, in addition
to showing their roping and horsemanship skills. Typically, the branding crew is
made up of young and old, male and female – oftentimes neighbors helping

When all of the calves have been processed, the cows with their freshly
branded calves are turned back to their pastures. Following the branding, the
crew is typically served a good meal where stories of the day – and yesteryear –
are shared in a good time.

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