As promised, here are the photos from the branding of our new heifer. I am trying, by the way, to use the appropriate bovine terms now . . . a heifer is a female which has not yet had a calf. Since this animal is a year old, and hasn't had a calf, she's a heifer.
Sorry the picture quality isn't great. The menfolk handled this task after their day at the bridge project, so this all happened this evening at dusk.
First, scrap wood was collected, and a fire started.
The branding tool was placed in the fire to heat.
While the tool heated, the heifer was brought into position near - but not too near - to the fire.
Then she was immobilized, so that she couldn't move while she was branded. This is the point where I left the scene. Sigh. I'm still too soft-hearted for this stuff.
Boo didn't record the moment of the brand on her skin . . . but this was taken just afterwards, as Russell treated the burn.
Can you see her brand well enough in the picture to read it? We ended up with S4P as our brand . . . hopefully you can figure out for yourself what that stands for.
As soon as this was done, the heifer was untied and allowed to get back up. She was pretty upset, and kicked a bit once she had the chance to do so. I totally don't blame her - I think I'd feel like kicking someone, too.
With the work completed and a fire burning, the family toasted marshmallows and ate them before dinner. Good thing we had a light dinner planned tonight!
Though she doesn't know it yet, the heifer will be much happier now that she is branded. We've been keeping her tied to a stake, so that she would be less likely to escape from our land, because without a brand she couldn't be identified as our property. Because the mother cow was already branded, we've been allowing her to move around with the rest of our little herd. The baby has been mooing for her mother rather pitifully, and now we'll be able to let her loose to roam with mom and the rest of the cattle.