Damn Thing Gone Wild!

(sigh) Two weeks. Two weeks of not tying or walking the cow. That was all it took for Sweet Caroline to no longer allow me to walk up to her in the pasture and put the halter on her. In fact this morning I couldn’t even put the lead rope around her neck like I used to do when she was unsettled to keep her standing nicely so I could then halter her.

So disappointing.

The first week was my own fault. I didn’t get out there to work with her like I should have. The flu came to our house and I just didn’t make time to walk the cow too. The second week I am going to blame on G.W. the bull. We had a little go-‘round one morning when I went out there. It wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been but it left me with a sore back for a few days. After that we moved to a temporary three pen system.

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The Cows Came Home

It’s been just short of two weeks ago that the cows came home. It was nice to have everyone back on the farm where they belong. The girls were bred and are due late spring. They spent their time away with my uncle’s herd of Angus. They were comparable in size to this year’s calves it seemed. So as we drove by they were easy to spot from the road. I didn’t visit them nearly as much as I should have, but one Sunday we did stop in after church. They were all on the other side of the pasture when we arrived. I stood at the fence and called for Lucy. It wasn’t too long before she wandered slowly over, Wheezy followed keeping her distance. She refused to eat from my hand as she used to but I was just happy she still came when called.

While the girls were out Elvis and G.W. settled right in. They have become so tame. I’m so glad we are not going to eat G.W.. He is so friendly, he will walk up to me in the pasture to be pet. I can get the burdock off of him without any fuss. He is so sweet. Elvis is the same. I already dread the day he has to go. That’s going to be a rough one.

G.W. and Elvis
G.W. and Elvis

Elvis took G.W. under his wing and they became good buddies. This was made more apparent when the cows came back. Wheezy’s horns look to have grown 6 inches while she was away and she has learned she likes to use them. Hers have grown much more forward instead of upward as Lucy’s are. As soon as they hopped out of the trailer they began chasing the boys around trying to establish a pecking order again.

I don’t like. Not one bit! Those boys are so sweet and they just get pushed around.

Because the girls get so territorial over the big hay feeder Mike made a couple smaller feeders in the barn. I was worried that the boy’s weren’t going to get any feed. Every time they get in the barn Wheezy runs them out. They look great! And work well. I asked for 2 more once I saw them installed, then we could remove the big feeder and give them a little more room in there.

Hay Feeder
Hay Feeder

Last night Wheezy and I had a little “get to know you”. It wasn’t a full blown “come to Jesus”, I’m hoping it doesn’t get that far, because that will end one of two ways: I come out on top and she will mind from then on out or she will take that round and when I recover she will be turned into hamburger. Lucky for both of us it didn’t go that far. I’m giving both girls the benefit of the doubt that they haven’t been home for too long and are still getting readjusted.

I went into the pen with an arm full of hay for Hank (his feeder is next to the fence most easily accessed through the cow pen). I wasn’t a few feet in the gate when Wheezy lowered her head and came towards me. It wasn’t a leap or real charge, there wasn’t enough room between us for that, but it was obvious she thought she was going to establish a Queen Bee status with me. This time she got an up close view of my boot. Right between the eyes.

Dexter Angus Cross

She wasn’t expecting it and she backed up pretty quick, tripped on her own feet and then stood there for a minute processing what just happened. We had a bat inside the front door of the house, only because shortly after we moved in I found it marking a gopher hole in the field, brought it in and hadn’t thought to move it since. But in the last week Mike had finally moved it to the barn and it happened to be right outside the pen. I grabbed the bat, hay in hand, and told Wheezy to get out of the barn. She left, I fed Hank and went on my way.

I didn’t have to use the bat that night. I hope I never do. I don’t want to hurt any of our animals but my 115lbs up against the 700lbs of horned Wheezy, I’m going to need Jesus and a bat if she gets mad.

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and my bat…” well it’s close anyway.

This morning Mike and I moved the big feeder so it’s no longer next to the outside door in hopes the boys will be able to make their way in to the other feeders on the wall. Wheezy came in and said hi. She kept her distance.

Lucy is still skittish and has kept her distance since coming home. Hopefully it won’t take too long for her to warm back up to us and Wheezy will calm down again too.

The Girls
The Girls

Dexter Cattle

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Ain’t No Bull About It

We’ve been in the market for a bull this year. After planning to A.I. (artificially inseminate) the girls, then not, and then again planning to. When we finally were able to get a hold of the vet and get the process started, I’m not sure what happened but we haven’t heard back from him in a few weeks again and have given up on that for the time being. All the while we have been looking for a bull of our own.

Everyone we talk to that uses A.I. on their cows also has a bull to take care of the ones that the A.I. didn’t take. I’m not a fan of that method to begin with and then when you add all the costs that go with it, it’s rather expensive. You go through the whole process and still have a decent chance that it won’t work and you will need a bull anyway. I don’t understand why I would go through all that when having a bull on site will do the same thing?

I’ve asked that question a few times and the answer is always the same. “You A.I. with semen from a high quality bull, and then have a lower quality bull for “clean up””.

Huh. Well that’s somethin’.

From what I figure… in my head without too many numbers… the cost for the vet, the shots to put them into heat, the straws (which depending on what bloodline you want, start at $25 and go past $100 each, and have a 5 straw minimum), figure two straws per cow-times how many cows, it can get rather pricey. Now go through all that and some don’t take. So, you either, buy or rent a bull to have the girls impregnated the old fashioned way. Wouldn’t it make more sense to just buy a quality bull right off the bat and not have to mess around with all the rest? We are already doing cow chores daily so adding another mouth over the fence isn’t that bad in the scope of things. The only hay problem we have is we either need to find someone to buy some or we need to get a few more cows to eat it (and the second cutting is getting baled tomorrow).

After some looking we found one near by, affordable and looked like a good quality animal. We were all set to pick him up and the farmer called to say we couldn’t take him because of another deal he had going and a misunderstanding with that guy. He felt really bad to have to back out. He offered us one of his bull calves instead, it was a deal. We were able to bring the girls down to my uncle’s and put them in with his bull this year.

Using a borrowed truck and trailer we packed up early that morning and headed farther into the country to a little farm not too far from ours. The farmer met us at the barn where he had this years calves penned up for easier catching. The way it sounded they were all going to be sold that day. We got first pick. Talk about cute! I was hoping for the red, horned one, Mike wanted the dun without horns. We got the dun. I named him.

G.W. McLintock
G.W. McLintock

G.W. McLintock. If you haven’t seen the movie, I’m not sure we can be friends… Well maybe. My grandpa was a fan of John Wayne and old western movies. That, McLintock,  is one of my favorites. The little guy will have to grow into the name.

When we first were discussing getting the calf as opposed to finding another bull neither of us were too excited about the idea. After a little thought I was quite happy it worked out the way it did. He has only been “home” for a few days and he is already quite friendly. He is learning what a halter is and let me tell ya’, it is so nice to work with a critter that small.

This little 1/2 pint is doing great!

G.W. and I
G.W. and I
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