Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Babe, previously known as Annie, comes home

Experience has taught us a few things about introducing a new cow into the herd.  
For instance, if you turn a new cow out into a pasture, one of the first things she will do is walk the fence looking for a way out.  With fences like ours, it would be very possible that she would find a way out and start looking for her herd, which in this case is twenty-five miles away.  Another reason for keeping her in the small pen:  If the horses see a new cow, they'll chase her mercilessly.  Once they can become accustomed to her presence across the fence, they'll behave themselves and accept her once she's turned loose.  
To prevent this from happening with Babe we had Cliff's brother unload her into the small pen behind the barn.  Cliff suggested we put Jody in with her so she could be getting used to one of our cows at a time.  

I wish I had been able to get a picture of what happened first:  Jody, being young and foolish, decided to get into a head-butting match with Babe.  You can imagine who won.  Cows have a pecking order, and a new cow always has to figure out where she belongs in the world of cow-pasture politics.  Once she firmly established that she was Jody's boss, they settled down and became friends.  They spent Babe's first night here together, and most of her first day.  
Yesterday afternoon I called Bonnie and Max up and let them into the pen.  Oh, poor Max.  Once again, I wish I had a picture, but by the time I got my camera it was over:  Babe actually got him in a corner and got him down on the ground, continuing to head-butt him.  No harm was done, and poor Max now knows where he stands in the herd.  I believe he is low man on the totem pole.  I don't have a picture of Babe and Max after the TKO, because I decided to put him in the stall so I could milk Bonnie this morning.  

A lot of times the oldest cow, the one that has been on the place the longest, is the boss cow, so I watched Babe and Bonnie with interest.  Well, Bonnie has been hauled to Phil's farm to visit the bull a couple of times, so this ain't her first rodeo.  She obviously knew she would lose any skirmish, so each time Babe-the-bully walked toward her, she scurried away.  It must have been a good psychological tactic, because within a half-hour the two were hanging out together just fine, and there had been no scuffle at all.  
So Babe is the new herd boss.  But why wouldn't she be?  She weighs at least twice as much as any of the others.  
By the way, Cliff's brother already had a perfectly good name for Babe:  Annie.  
However, Cliff's first favorite cow back in 1967 was a Polled Hereford named Babe, and I think he likes the idea of having another Babe.  Most cows do not know their names, so changing hers is no big deal.  
There are several little tricks Babe is going to have to learn in the next few days.  Here's hoping everything goes well.  


Sonya said...

Interesting! Cows have pecking order too!

nerves05 ( Nancy) said...

She's a pretty cow. I like white faced cows. she also has some curly hair in her head. how toot!

Do you have to do anything to Cows Hoofs like you to horses?

Vicki said...

Your header is a hoot! Very interesting lesson in cow 101. Vicki

Paula said...

Well said! Around here we call it "getting located" when they are getting used to our place.

Hyperblogal said...

My cat does the head butting around here but, so far, I still think I'm in charge.

Mrs. L said...

It was fun to hear about the things cows do to entertain their people. I wonder if they talk among themselves about what you folks are doing to entertain them.

Forty Pound Sack said...

Gotta say, I love the updated header photo, LOL.
You're getting quite a nice herd!

Missie said...

I never thought of cows having a pecking order! Your header caught me by surprise and gave me a good laugh! LOL


WELCOME HOME Babe. interesting about the head butting and pecking order.