North Central Research Extension Center


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Pasture Calving - Tagging Calves?

John Dhuyvetter

Pasture Calving  -  Tagging Calves?

Most ND cattlemen keep a calving book to record calving’s by date and cow and, tag calves at birth to identify for latter reference, to match to dam, and for identification in record systems.  For persons calving in corrals and lots in which cows are fairly confined and often moved through barns and facilities , there can be opportunities to work the calf by isolating it behind a gate in safety.  Pasture calving in the wide open spaces presents are more challenging situation for working newborns.  If not for safety alone, one has to question the reasons and value for tagging with a protective cow breathing down your neck and riling up the herd.  Tags can be put in at branding for herd/source identification and cross referencing to the cow if needed.

Something to consider that is workable in many situations is the calf-catch that attaches to a side by side or 4-wheeler utility vehicle.  The protective metal cage provides a safe zone for tagging and working with the calf while the protective mother expresses her concern on the outside.  Generally if the utility vehicle is used to routinely check and drive through the herd cows become quite accustomed to it.  Calves can be easily caught without much commotion if done in the first couple of days of birth while they spend time resting and are a bit sluggish.  Most commercial catching attachments also include a compartment to transport a calf.  Cows readily follow their strapped in calf as the utility vehicle slowly drives off.

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