Weighing & Grading
25 & 26 June 2008
The Treasure Hammock Ranch cattle pens are over fifty years old and still an integral part of the operation.
The cattle must pass through a labyrinth of gates and pens that lead to the scales. The cattle scale is enclosed under the roofed structure.
The entranceway through which the cattle pass to enter the scale.
Planks from the scale floor are removed to allow the scale mechanism to be checked.
Any dirt build up beneath the scale must be removed allowing for full motion of the device to ensure an accurate reading. The scale operator sits just outside to take the readings.
The view inside the scale as a calf is weighed. Due to the severe drought, the calves all averaged approximately 50-pounds underweight each. The return of the rainy season will see the calves add two-pounds a day as the pastures become lush with vegetation. Ralph Sexton reads the weight from the scale that looks and operates like an oversized mechanical medical scale of the type commonly seen at the doctor's office.
Once the cattle leave the scale, the roofed structure at left, they enter the chute, the smaller roofed structure at right, where they are caught for examination. A chemical is applied, at left, to help control fleas and ticks, while, at right, the ear tag is checked to identify the animal.
Checking the ear tag number. The tag is a small metal clip embedded in the ear. Here a tagged Brahman waits patiently to be reunited with her calf who is being weighed.
A cow being released from the chute. The few calves without ear tags are spray painted with a number matching them with their mothers.
Once out of the chute the cattle are free to rejoin the herd in a nearby pen to await release back into the pastures.
Sean Sexton notes the weight then grades each head of cattle as they pass by.
The weighing and grading done, the herd waits impatiently to be released.
The cattle charge out happy to be free of the pen.
The cowboys keep the herd together as they cross the road heading toward the pasture.
The cowboys herd the cattle through to a far pasture under the hot Florida summer sun.
Florida Cattle Ranch by Bob Montanaro
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