Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Branding Calf


Today's picture was taken in 1939 on the Three Circle Ranch in Montana. It shows the cowboys branding a calf. Branding was started back in the days of the Open Range to allow ranchers to identify ownership of their cattle. Given that it is the "Three Circle" ranch, I assume they stamp each calf with three circles.

16 comments:

  1. If it's the Circle 3 Ranch outside of Dillon, Montana, their brand is the number 3 inside a circle.

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  2. Nate,
    Interesting. If you look at yesterday's photo, the calf has three separate circles . . . two in mid section and one on the haunch. Perhaps they changed the brand at some point. Maybe the 4 circle ranch was stealing their cattle, and just adding another circle.
    PJM

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  3. What a very cruel thing to do to a living, breathing creature. I never liked it.

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  4. Regarding branding...
    Two friends of mine went on a Montana cattle drive. One wore his old brown ACME cowboy boots. The other (a dapper NYC lawyer) wore the polished black cowboy boots that were his courtroom trademark. At the end of the week long drive the group gathered at the bunkhouse. As a closing ceremony a ranch hand branded a boot shaft from each guest rider. Everyone handed over a boot. When the hot iron made contact with the NYC lawyer's boots it dragged back melted strands of black plastic. "Well lookit that" the ranch hand said. Just about everyone found it funny.

    John

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  5. Lucy - if you think branding is a tad rough, don't watch castrating or de-horning. All these things are necessary to raise beef on the range. It's over very quickly for the calf. And you know those leather boots you wear, they have a thick hide. Actually you have to hold the iron longer to a calf than a horse - a horse is thinner hided and you just touch and remove a hot iron or it will blotch. Branding is an art believe it or not.

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  6. Calves may bawl a little right when the hot iron is applied, but they get right up and run to the othe loose calves.

    4320 minutes left.

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  7. @Lucy (aka RHarper): Keep in mind that the anatomy of a cow (and calf) is different than that of a human or a horse. The thickness of epidermis for an adult cow is 6-8 millimeters (1/4" to 1/3" thick). With humans, the epidermis can be from .05 mm to 1.55 mm thick depending on the location on the body.

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  8. I wouldn't be such a fan of branding nowadays but back then it was something you had to do if you wanted to keep your cattle.
    @Anonymous (John): Great story!!

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  9. PJM, I noticed that. Maybe they started selling the leather and needed a smaller brand or maybe they saw this cartoon and thought better:

    http://tinyurl.com/243adz5

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  10. Wow where do you get these photo's from? Poor cows. Branding still happens today, but it just seems so much more painful in an old photo!

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  11. Very interesting. I am curious what goes into a branding, specifically who and what designs the branding tool.

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  12. Well, not really ingenious to use the iron 3 times for a single cow! People were problably planty of time at the 3 circles ranch!

    Regarding the branding tool, its desing is generally figured by the farmer and the tool is made by any smith. Quite a simple and useful tool! Still in use.

    Plus, i don't think it is cruelty. Cows get afraid but it doesn't really seems to hurt them (like a kid taking a injection).
    ;D

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  13. I love old photos. Stumbled across this blog and I'm really intrigued. Love the photos of the ranch in Montana. Montana is still one of my favorite places to visit to this day.

    For something different, check out my fashion blog and website;

    www.ttsattic.blogspot.com
    www.ttsatticboutique.com

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  14. Branding may be the way its done for whatever reason, but its still inhumane. I know that the skin of these animals may be different from ours but there is no way for us to say to what extent it hurts the animal. It makes me sad to know they have no choice in the matter and are branded for whatever reason humans deem it necessary.

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