The Cows are Out

“Hey, so, ah, the cows somehow got the red gate off the hinge and everybody is in the corral. G.W. is trying to breed Lucy already.” That’s right, another one of Mike’s famous calls from the barn.

All afternoon the rain has been off and on; the “on” in the form of heavy, soaking down pours and some hail at one point. We had planned to put some dehorning paste on Margo tonight. Her horns are just barely little bumps, but big enough that we can tell she will have horns. It’s best we take care of them now before they attach to her skull and she gets any stronger. She’s got a lot of might in that little frame.

Now it looked like we’d be separating cows and have to postpone the dehorning for another day. I realize we are a very small operation compared to others but separating cows no matter the number always comes with challenges. Head count currently is seven with two on the way.

It’s spring, the rains make the ground sloppy in places, most notably where the cows like to spend the majority of their time. It also means the bull is ready to breed, the cows are becoming open as they calve. The calves with all their curiosity are learning fence lines and pointing out the weak spots. Knock on wood we haven’t have any calves get out this year so far. All of this together means getting everyone in to their proper pen will take some patience and a guardian angel (or five).

I left the kids in the house with strict instructions to “Stay in the house! You can watch out the window.” We all know that was going to be ignored. It wasn’t too long at all before them came splashing through the rain to the fence to see how this was going to go.

Mike was able to get the red gate back on the hinges without me and had it open and ready. Sweet Caroline was the first one in the barn, she was the least of my concerns. She won’t let me halter her in the pasture but she will still follow me where I ask her. The steers go where they please and for the most part stay where ever there’s the most hay. Wheezy needed to go to the barn and after a little run-around with her she was in… with Caroline. It was only a matter of time before Caroline was chased out.

Then was the most challenging part, getting Lucy and her calf Margo without G.W., the bull, to the barn. He was not leaving her side. At all! Rather than mess with the two of them we went for the calf. Where Margo goes, Lucy will follow.

As long as the angels can fly quickly all will go as planned. Sneak the calf to the barn. Let Lucy come looking for her. Open the red gate long enough to for her to get through and close it before G.W. pushes through.

All will go as planned. Let’s all take a moment to laugh at that thought!

You sneak up behind a cow with horns to take her calf out of sight. Let me know how that goes. Lucy noticed and stood her ground. She didn’t come after me but just tossed her horns and stomped her foot. We have a good understanding. While she’s telling me to back off G.W. is thinking he’s going to get involved. It’s obvious the plan is falling apart. Time to start bribing.

I grabbed a flake of hay and got G.W.’s attention. Then we were able to chase Lucy and Margo in. After a quick head count there was a steer in the barn that needed to be out. Mike stood at the red gate while I went in the barn to chase him out. That was exciting, but went pretty good. He ran out. Mike opened the gate long enough for Gus to get out and closed it just short of the girls.

Luck was on our side when the girls went out and left Margo behind. I was able to grab a loose gate and block the door, keeping Lucy and Wheezy out and Margo in. Mike came around and got a rope on Margo. He held the gate while I adjusted the halter and got her out of the pen and tied so we could work on her horns despite it all.

Then we were able to let the girls back in and get everyone settled before we worked on Margo’s dehorning.

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