Pulling Everybody’s Hair!

Dwayne and I have family and friends that seem to become a bit – ahem – uptight about the fact that we have no time for visiting – or – leaving our place to do anything outside of a few hours in any given day.  Two people raising cattle – become owned by those cattle.  Ask any cattle rancher.  There’s a reason why they have large families – or – hire help.


You can’t throw ‘em on a pasture and disappear for a few days.  That holds true right now – especially.

We have some idiots in this country that seem to think it’s perfectly okay to snatch somebody else’s cattle.  With the price of everything climbing insanely to the sky – for no legitimate reason beyond passing the buck when it comes to blame – cattle rustling continues.  And it’s a lot easier today – with the help of wheels.  For this reason – Dwayne and I have started taking on additional chores to secure our herd.

But first – we went picking in everybody’s ears the other day.  Tattooing does not stay forever.  Apparently.  Who knows?  Who cares.  It wasn’t there.  So – we took care of it.

I knew there was a reason to wait before washing!

I knew there was a reason to wait before washing!

This was my reward.  I have become Aon’s replacement for a security blanket – now that he’s been weaned.  He loves his Granny!  And Granny loves him!  Even so – Granny was not too happy about finding this on her barn coat.  But that was not Aon’s fault.


The temps are expected to hit back up into the 50’s today.  I’m hoping and praying my ‘back-up’ works on removing the tattoo ink.


But we were told this gets the ink off your hands.  And it works!!

One of those new chores consists of pulling tail hairs off of – everybody.  No matter if they’ve already had tail hairs sent in to the labs for testing.  No matter if the previous breeders/owners already took care of that detail.  No matter if the animal is headed to the freezer.  We dispose of the sample after we have taken an animal to be processed.


We’ve been pulling tail hairs – and more tail hairs – off of everybody – to keep on file at our place.  A lot of people with large herds would dispute our reason for doing so in case of theft – with a falling back excuse of having too many animals and not enough time.  “Tracking would end up leading to a carcass at the end.  So – why bother?

That’s why the rustling continues.  And they would be the ones experiencing the greatest losses – despite the fact that a lot of idiots hit on small herds to save time for making a fast buck.  Well.  That’s the math the crooks have done in their head – anyway.

So far – I’ve heard that most of them getting busted are standing at their livestock trailer.  But that’s because a responsible cattle owner had taken the time to keep very good identification records.  They also had the brains to jump in front of the train and contact every processing and auction house they could locate – and get the word down the pipeline.

Collecting the tail hairs tends to be one of those little daunting tasks that causes new cattle owners to stiffen up.  I think the fact that so much stress on making sure to pull the follicle sounds more intimidating than it is – really.  And then – there is the thought of how it feels to have our own hair pulled out – that crosses all our minds.  C’mon.  You know you think about it!

Think about this.  They kick each other in the head.  And you worry about pulling a few hairs out of their tail?

Here’s a video that I really like.  I love the kits they use in Oz!  Wish we had ‘em here.  We settle for paper towels – or – Ziploc bags – and #10 envelopes.  Only one thing different than the example shown in the video that we found to help much easier.  We pull the hairs upward – to 12noon on the clock.  We get a much higher count of the follicles.  Dwayne’s able to get the approximate 30 hairs that are always requested on the first pull – almost every time.

You just wanna make sure your hands are clean.  I use a folded paper towel – to keep the follicles in a sterile confinement – as much as possible.  Remember – you are dealing with DNA here.

If you get a good – full wrap of the tail hairs around your finger before you pull – you’re good to go.  But remember – you wanna wrap safely enough away from the follicle end of the hairs – to keep any from touching your hand.

Clinching the fist after pulling helps.  From there – you can lay the follicle end onto the paper towel while you unwrap the hairs from your finger.  Close up the paper towel.  I place the paper towel inside the envelope tagged for each animal – without sealing the envelope.

Once I get back to the house – I get out the cellophane tape and ink pen.  I wash my hands.  Carefully – I remove the paper towel from the envelope.  Dwayne usually washes his hands and helps.  He holds a piece of tape ready.  I grab hold of the lock of hair – about 2 inches from the follicles.  I get it all situated into a nice and neat clump – handling hairs below where I’ve grabbed – if needed.

Once I’ve got ‘em situated – I pick up the lock of hair.  Dwayne wraps the tape under my fingers that are holding the lock of hair.  I grab the taped portion and trim hairs below to make the sample all nice and neat – before setting it back onto the paper towel while I label the envelope with all the information that the lab requests.  And then I pick up the taped portion to set the sample inside the envelope before sealing.

I do each sample one at a time – getting each sample sealed in the #10 envelope and ready for the lab to open before moving on to the next sample.  Very dangerous to try doing too many at once – leaving samples sitting on paper towels – scattered on your work area.  Don’t do that!!!

Believe me – it happens.  It’s another reason why we go ahead and test all our animals.  Yeah – it’s expensive as all get-out.  But we like sleeping like a baby.  Raising cattle is not cheap.  But we have learned to pick our battles.  As much as we would love to be able to travel to all the different livestock shows to compete – we prefer spending the last of our pennies on verifying genetics of our animals.

I’m glad we’re in the habit of doing this.  I don’t care how many go to the processor.  I don’t care how many are born into the herd each year.  I don’t care how many more we purchase for adding to our herd.  We will continue doing whatever we can to protect our animals from theft.

Nobody else has any right to come sneaking up here and stealing our investment.  And we’re taking every measure to verify and protect our animals.  And I mean – every – measure.

Granted.  The effort may lead to only a carcass at the end of the day.  But if you think I won’t show up in that  courtroom to make sure somebody goes to jail for a while…  And if you think there won’t be a Civil lawsuit to follow – that will go as far as placing liens on whatever they own that we can tag…  

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