The Cattle Sort

While my daughters practice equestrian, the mid-range on the JN Ranch is busy with the yearly cattle sort. The sort is used to separate and identify each bovine member of the herd. Most already have an ear tag. Those that do not have a tag are given one. The encoded tag identifies the cow by number, herd, type, date of birth and sex. The tag may have another encoded number referring to an individual health record. To supplement herd identification, the ranch continues to brand their cattle.


The sort is also used to inoculate the cattle with a wide-spectrum antibiotic. The antibiotic is used to prevent the development of a variety of bacterial infections any given cow may acquire while on the range. When the herd is large, inoculation is an important tool to keep them healthy. Amanda is the chief veterinary technician (horses and cattle) for the ranch. As a matter of practice, she makes sure the herd isn’t overmedicated. That, in itself, can invite unwanted problems.


Amanda also oversees much of the cattle operation. Her recordkeeping is meticulous, tracking every cow and ranch horse. Most of the time, you’ll find her on the ranch’s range property.  In her truck, you’ll find two laptops and a tablet, along with her veterinary kit.


Many thanks to the JN Ranch and Amanda Norris to watch and photograph the sorting operation.


2 thoughts on “The Cattle Sort

  1. I always thought it would be a wonderful life to work with beautiful creatures like these in the great outdoors. Your photographs make that dream even more appealing!

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