Doing the morning chores is a fairly regular set of circumstances. First the cows hear the Gator starting up over by the house, they see us driving over the bridge, opening gates, loading hay from the barn, then driving out to the outside feeders.
The main herd typically follows the rocked path that leads to the feeders. They scramble to get there ahead of the Gator so they can annoy us by standing right in our way or trying to pull bites of hay out of the bales as we try to get the feed from the Gator into the big, round feeders.
On this day, the last cow in line was Topanga and she did not follow along the road with the rest of the herd. She took the over-land route along the hillside all by herself. Fearing that she was not feeling well, Mike and I stopped after unloading all the hay to watch her slow walk along the hillside.
It all became clear to us as she moved up to an old stump and began relieving an itch that must have been irritating her. After a minute of scratching her neck on the stump and brush clump, she continued on to the feeders to eat her breakfast with the rest of the herd.