Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Adventures with cows

Cliff had been telling me for a few days that I should put pregnant Bonnie in the big lot, here by the house, to have her calf.  I wish I had listened, but it gets so complicated.  
Adam, the guy who keeps his horses here, needs to be able to get the horses in the lot to feed them and work with them.  However, you can't have the horses in a limited space with a cow with a new calf because horses are ornery.  They have fun chasing the cows away from their personal space.  It really doesn't hurt anything as long as we are talking about older, experienced cows.  But a cow having a calf doesn't need that sort of aggravation.  So a choice must be made:  Keep Adam's horses out of the lot where he can't catch them, or let the cow have her calf wherever she wants.  
Bonnie chose to have her calf practically against the fence on our east property line, on a hill.  There was no sharp drop-off there, but as with ninety percent of our property, there was a steep incline... on three sides of the cow.  It was obvious the calf would end up going down a hill; when I went back there with towels to dry her off, I dragged her a few feet by her hind legs to a spot where I hoped she would roll down into a nice, sheltered valley when she started trying to get up.  
When Cliff got out of bed, I told him I was going to check on the calf again.  I took my cell phone, just in case.  
I'm pretty sure my regular readers would be disappointed if I ever had a calf that did not end up in a canyon, right?  
Yes, the calf ended up in a canyon... on the neighbor's property.  Somehow she rolled down a hill and under a barbed wire fence, and there she lay, shivering and wet in seventeen-degree weather, as her mother mooed plaintively from the top of the hill on the other side of the fence.  I called Cliff, who came with halter and rope in hand, and the two of us got the calf back on our property.  We left her with her mother in a low spot where they stayed until sometime after noon.  At three P.M. when I went to check on them, they were gone without a trace.  I found them running for the back of the property and somehow managed to get them turned around and headed for the barn.  Let me tell you, that twelve-hour-old calf must be half racehorse.  Maybe she figures with all she has been through, it's best to run from humans who drag you here and there through brush and dirt against your will.  
Another thing:  I am always leery of bulls.  Even though Red, our bull, is a youngster and has given me no cause to be scared of him, I have always given him a wide berth.  Yesterday morning at 4:30 A.M. I took sort of a shortcut back to the house, through some brush.  It was dark, but there was a full moon.  I didn't turn on the flashlight.  As I broke out of the brush, I almost stepped on the bull, who was laying down chewing his cud until I appeared beside him, at which time he jumped up as fast as a jackrabbit.  I don't know which if us was more scared.  
Later on in the day I went to check on cow and calf and found the bull nosing around, sniffing to see if perhaps the cow was coming in heat yet and examining the baby (no doubt thanking his lucky stars for another heifer).  
I was so tired and grouchy from all the trips back and forth, uphill and down, that I didn't stop to think about my fear of the bull.  I picked up a dead tree-branch, flung it at him, and yelled, "Get outta here!"  
He left.  Two different times yesterday evening I passed by him yelling the same words, and he scooted away hastily.  I guess I have earned his respect.  Don't worry, I won't be taking any foolish chances.  But it's nice to have his respect.  
Be sure and stay tuned, because in two or three days we will be turning Bonnie out with her calf, and there will be numerous chances for Crystal to end up in a canyon again.  I only hope she lands on our property next time.


I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

I hope you all stay and the cows. I'm sure I couldn't even begin to keep up with all you are doing there.

Cliff said...

Horses are ornery, I had a horse reach across a fence and pick a young calf clear off the ground with his teeth. Had him by the middle of the back. Ouch.
Also, have cliff plug in the welder and have a look at this website. I think he'll love it.

Cliff said...

And BTW, yes the kennel is a full time business for two people. Marilyn and our daughter.