This is Martha.  Of all the cattle we have handled, Martha was the most challenging to get caught in the head catch.  The photo is the result of try 7, where we paid a LOT of attention to things like her foot placement.

She has never been a problem to get into the squeeze chute, but actually capturing her by the head has been an issue.  You see, she discovered on her first pass that if she puts her head back, and pushes with her chest, the gates can’t catch her – or at least once they try, her shoulders are already free and its easy to just walk through.

This hasn’t been an issue for vacinations, deworming, etc. – those things could happen with her being behind the gate.  However for ear tagging and tatooing, we needed her as seen.

Very happy with the Powder River Herdmaster catch.  Its a bit different than most, where the operator (that is typically me) has to close the gates down on the cattle as it passes through, and then hold it shut.  Instead, this unit’s default position is closed and I actually have to hold it open to let the cattle through.  That came in VERY handy today.  She got caught low, on her knees.  All I needed to do was crack it open a bit, she stood up, and I let go.  As she struggled a bit, the head gate just ratcheted down (no worries – it has limits that prevent it from choking the animals).  Eventually she stepped back, and the final few inches closed.

Its odd mostly because of the number of attempts we made, but also in that Martha is otherwise pretty easy to handle.  As much as we would like to, with 20+ cattle we can’t hand tame them all – we have tried and it simply gets dangerous due to the older adults getting pushy.  That said, the cattle pretty much care less if we are near them (like 6 feet near), and often we can get right up to them (at least until they notice <smile>).

Oh well, this weekend we sold Aurora to the Hertels.  That makes Martha the last of her generation to be on the market.  Now we get a break until April when the process starts all over again.  We have (3) castrated males, including one that should be ready for slaughter come spring, one pure white male we are hoping to sell as a bull (he is really well put together), Martha, and (4) soon to be year old heifers to sell in 2016.

Learned a January farm lesson today:  Net wrapped hay does not unwrap well when covered with an inch of ice and snow.  Its shreds pretty good though.  Fortunately, starting this year, our new hay is stored under cover, so that won’t be an issue once we use up our 2 year old stuff.