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Green tag 857

On every ranch in America, you will more than likely find a few cows that have been renamed by their owners for various reasons. Most of these names cannot be repeated outside of the corral, or in the presence of women and small children. All of these bovine have done deeds to earn their nicknames, some of them even get their nickname written on their ear tags for the world to see when they make their way down the chute in the fall. Often times these cows have been the cause of marital strife, fences that had to be mended that were in otherwise perfect condition, bent corral gates and many vocabulary lessons for the family when dad loses his temper.

Year after year it seems that some of these cows slip through the net when it comes time to cull cows in the fall. Inevitably it is because they always seem to raise the largest scale crushing calf on the ranch. We ranchers are quick to forget that we tagged that calf from the bed of the pickup while our wife drove fast enough to keep his mama from getting in the back with us. As an ode to these troublesome critters, I felt it only fitting to pen a poem about my main archrival, green tag 857.

She showed up her back in 2019, part of a load we bought because we liked what our eyes had seen. She was long and deep, had a good udder and feet too, she’s bred to a stout bull and she’ll calve here in a week or two.



Our trouble started when she first went through the squeeze chute, the gentle minded cow we had bought appeared to act like quite a brute. The guy in the back just got unseated from his horse, we poked fun at him told him you know she’s bluffing of course!

She has been running with the heavy bred’s for more than a month now, due date was three weeks ago and I’m starting to wonder if there is a calf in that rotten old cow. She is happy to stand there and chew on her cud, but to me her name is mud.



Then comes the day I look to see a calf standing beside green 857, it’s a strapping bull calf thank the good Lord in Heaven! With the tag in my hand and vaccine in my pocket, it doesn’t take me long to find out this cow has a loose sprocket. I decide a rope from the back of the ranger will help keep my life from severe danger.

A few days later while we spend the day pairing out, from the other side of the lot I hear a worried shout. Though the words come across a little hazy, I’m sure I heard the boss say, “This witch is crazy.” She’s easily 1,200 pounds of nothing but man-eating hate, and with eyes blinded with rage there is no way she can see the out gate.

Her attitude is quick to change with a nylon necklace, and a pretty new ankle tether, it takes two horses pulling hard to relocate this piece of leather. We both swear this fall she’ll be gone; we sure hope this summer won’t take too long.

Then comes the day when the vet comes to preg, when she walks down the alley she is the only open for which we beg. To bad for us she is in a motherly way, I guess 857 must be here to stay.

When it comes to cows remember it’s your life and the ones you love that are the most important. Don’t keep the nasty ones around no matter what kind of calves they may raise. Just remember no matter how mean, wild or nasty they are, I have never seen one jump out of a freezer. That’s all for this time, God Bless and keep tabs on your side of the barbed wire.


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