Friday, December 25, 2009
Do Cows Know It's Christmas?
Probably not, or else they would have not behaved so badly these past few weeks! It all started innocently enough...my cowboy and his business partners (mom & sister) decided it was time to move the herd from the farm where we live, to the wide open spaces of the Antioch property. In anticipation, all the border fencing had been repaired except for an area that was considered swamp and flooded. There was fence back there, it's just that a normal human being would have trouble getting to it, so the assumption was...so would the darn cows.
The night before the herd was to be worked (branded and ear tagged) and moved, we were able to trick most of them with sacks of treats and corral them into the barn. This would make it much easier once our hired cowboys (former NFL football players) would arrive the next morning. Brahmans are good cattle till they think someone is about to corral them, they become as agile as gazelles and nothing keeps them in. BUT, so far so good that is, until the other cowboys arrived.
We had a plan or so we thought. The bottle fed babies were going to stay with us at the farm. The young bulls were on the way to the sale barn and the calves that needed weaning would stay on the farm too a few more weeks but then join their mommas at Antioch along with our breeding bulls. Seems easy enough...
So now we switch gears and concentrate on working them, separating them and hauling them. By the time it was all over, one large bull had jumped a 6 foot corral fence and some of the younger ones decided to skip the gazelle move and just run right through it. Keep in mind it's made of foot thick posts and heavy gauge wire. They also managed to tear off two gates and pretty much trash the 35 year old barn.
To add insult to injury, the herd that was taken to Antioch managed to find the only bad place in the fencing (way back in the flooded swamp) and make a clean break for it. Half of them came back on their own but the other half are now happily residing with one of my cowboys cousins cows in their pasture that backs up to Antioch.
The half that came back on their own are happy as can be roaming around Antioch with two big lakes and many tanks, lots of hay that was baled during the summer and still some coastal grass to munch on until real Winter hits. So you might say, they got their Christmas gift.
The half that took off and did not come back through the only opening of 800 acres of fence is having to rely on the kindness of kinfolk till we can get them separated and brought back. You could say that they are getting coal for their gift.
Then there is the misfit bottle fed babies that are staying with us at the farm. They will all be getting fresh hay and carrot treats for their holiday gift. I never knew how much I could care for a cow until I had to raise 5 of them from birth. I love each and every one of them. Each time one gets weaned, I get just a little sad and wistful because I miss my twice daily ritual of their feeding. Therefore I consider the newest calf (Lucky La Moo) my personal gift from Santa (albeit a little early). Thank you Santa!
Have a wonderful Christmas Eve and be sure and kiss the little calves in your life, in a blink they will grow up to be ornery cows!