Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Mysteries, bad fences, and mis-managed cattle

Except for the two bottle babies, this is my herd:  Crystal (Bonnie's daughter), Penny (the one my blog friends helped name), and Gracie, who was bred to a Red Angus bull January 10, which means she will have a calf around October 19.  
Penny is in heat today.  She comes in heat regularly every nineteen days.  No, she and Gracie aren't lesbians:  This is how cows in heat, and the cows around them, behave.  Such behavior is quite useful, since it's my only way of knowing when a cow is ready to meet a bull.  Penny is only a year old, so she needs to wait three more months before she gets impregnated.  

Crystal is sticking her tongue out at me because she is a bit of a mystery, and she won't talk about it:  In October, she came up missing.  I figured she had made her way through our decrepit old fence on the east side of our property and ended up on pasture leased by a local farmer for his cattle.  She was missing for two or three days.  I couldn't locate her, but was pretty sure she was with Steve's cattle, because that's where my missing cows always end up.  I called to tell him I had a whiteface heifer gone, and that we'd be over there searching.  He's always very obliging about these situations, and we eventually get our animals home.  
"There's a bull running with my cows, just so you know" he said.  
"What breed?"  
"Angus," he answered.  
"Well, it could be worse," I told him.  
I said this because in the old days, Angus bulls were known to sire calves that were smaller that some breeds, so they were safer to breed to heifers.  That isn't so universally true these days, but I could hope.  Because, you see, Crystal was only 11 months old at the time, which is really too young for breeding.  
The next day we got home from church to find Crystal at home in the lot.  The grandson and a friend had gone on a search, found her with Steve's cows, and gotten her back home.  A couple weeks later the grandson and Cliff did a lot of fence-mending (not that there is any ordinary fence that would stand up to the attraction between a bull and a lascivious cow).   

I have never been able to catch Crystal in heat since that time.  So in all likelihood, she will be having a calf during the last half of July... let's hope she survives calving.  I sometimes just thank God I only play at farming instead of trying to make a living at it.   


Adirondackcountrygal said...

It sounds like you have your hands full! I saw cow bison behaving in the same manner as female cows. Just like male dogs and female dogs mount other dogs, it is just what they do!


You've got your work cut out for you with these fellas. I think you do much more than play at it.