Here is an update from Brittany on her 3rd week!
My third week has flown by in a very busy blur. Sunday, I went looking for escaped bucks again and trailed them back to the ranch headquarters. Monday, I wrangled horses in the morning and then helped to gather some cows in an upper pasture and push them to the nearest corrals. We then sorted pairs out that the mothers were to be AI’ed later on. It was kind of a gloomy day and eventually, it started raining which turned into a down pour by the time we got back to the ranch.
Tuesday, one of the hands and I went back up to the corrals to finish sorting the pairs and then gather all the cows out of the pasture that we had sorted the AI pairs out of the day before and move them all to another pasture. The cows went well for there only being two of us. As we were gathering the pasture, we found the bull who had jumped many fences and thwarted many attempts to be put back with all the other bulls over the last couple days. We were finally successful in cutting him out from the cows after he brushed up on us and were forced to use dogs to chase him into the open where we could chase him back to the corrals at headquarters.
Wednesday, I went with Eamon to the forest to take a guard dog and her puppies up to the black-faced sheep. On the way, we had to put back sheep who had gotten out through an open gate and found that we would need to come back another day with horses to get them all back and had a flat tire on the truck. After that we took salt and mineral up to the AI pairs.
Thursday and Friday we started docking lambs. Docking lambs is what branding is to calves; docking is not the only thing that takes place. All the ewes and lambs are run into a mobile corral that is more elongated with three small pens up front. As the ewes and lambs are brought to the front, the lambs are sorted off from the ewes and put into the furthest forward pen. The ewes are then paint branded and let out of the pen to graze and wait for their lambs. Once the lambs are in the pen, they are then picked up by a ‘lamb carrier’. The lamb carrier takes the front legs and pulls them down in between the back legs and wraps the front leg around the same side’s back leg so the lamb cannot kick. The lamb carrier holds the lamb like that while the male lambs are being castrated and all are being earmarked. The lambs are then placed on their backs in a ‘Dinkum Docker’ which is much like a conveyor belt. As they go down the line, they are vaccinated, have their tails docked, have a mixture of pine tar and creosote put on their wounds and finally paint branded and set loose back with their mothers.
Saturday, we gathered and pushed all the cows that were trucked from the desert at Powder Wash to the forest. They went fairly easily with no major wrecks but it saved us riders a lot of work by having three very good cow-dogs because of run-back calves. It started to rain just after we made it to the forest. Later that day I helped put mineral and salt out to the cows on Road Gulch.
This concluded my third week at the Ladder Ranch.