A look at valley heritage
Branding season is in full swing among the many cattle ranches of the Roaring Fork Valley.
Branding has been used to identify livestock for thousands of years. Modern methods also include ear tags and tattoos on the inner lip or ear. But branding is still the primary and surest method used to identify the ownership of animals.
Identifying animals is especially important where public lands are used to raise cattle, which can easily wander and get mixed with other animals from herds other than their own.
The calves are rounded up and briefly separated from their mothers for efficiency and the safety of the cowboys. Ranch hands then capture and secure the calves for branding by roping them and laying them on the ground.
Ranchers also use this time to vaccinate calves to boost their immunity as antibodies they have picked up from nursing begin to weaken.
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