When Things Go Wonky

This is a continuation of the post from 5/29/2019 titled, Ya Just Never Know.

So I told you about moving the main herd out of our way after ear tagging some of the older calves and the fun time we had taking out the irrigation line with the mess of digging a trench to bury a new PVC line.

We had anticipated the cows would be able to graze for five to seven days without running out of grass or new growth on the under brush surrounding the far field, but things did not start out well. We were surprised when after only one day over there, one cow had figured out how to escape from one side of the fence to the other. She was making trails, leaving plops and eating as much tall grass as she could in the small 6 acre hay field while her herd mates hollered at her from across the fence. We had to coax her from the 6 acre field into the 26 acre field and across the expanse of that field and open up the ‘run’ made with temporary electric fencing so we could open the gate and let her back in with her herd.

On the second day there were three cows that had escaped into the 6 acre field and we had to do the same routine but the critters split from each other after being coaxed into the 26 acre field. Only one made it through the opened temporary run, the other two had to be corralled in the barn before the were released down the run to the gate at the bottom.

The third day, the herd had split so some were around one side of the fenced off 16 acre field and some were on the other side. There was a lot of bellowing from both sides, we hauled up a bale of hay by going up the county road and through two gates. We tossed the hay in piles and rounded up the whole herd, they did not act very hungry and their bellies looked as if they were finding the grazing satisfactory. We could not get a good count on everyone because they were still trickling in from their various grazing areas.

On the fourth day, we had finally finished filling the irrigation trench and we could bring the herd back without damage to the pipe or to critters falling into the ditch. Thinking a celebration was in order for all our hard work, we were planning on going out that evening leaving about 5pm. We figured that herd would still be several days way over around the far field. But the critters were unusually noisy most of the day and we assumed they wanted to be moved back. Usually the older cows hang around the gate when they want to move pastures, it becomes obvious when they are trying to tell us something.

At 3 pm, across the top of the growing grass field, we could see several cows standing by the gate. We had plenty of time to open the gate, let the cows go up the run through the hay field and into the barn yard where we count them before letting them out to graze the areas near the front landing and around the 26 acre field. I walked down the run while Mike jumped on the Gator to go up the road and through the two gates to retrieve the portable electric fence charger so it could be moved along with the cows.

I opened the gate, four cows and a calf walked through and I called the rest of the herd. There was a lot of echos back as the cows noticed something was going on, but no more critters headed toward me and the open gate. Some were scattered off to my right down along the 26 acre field, others were to my left along the 6 acre field, and there were scattered critters across the river all around the  16 acre field. A very unusual disorganization from the herd that typically gets along just fine.

By this time, Mike had made his way up to the 16 acre field and was trying to gather and send wayward critters my way. Mike hollered across the river that he knew what the problem was, he saw we had a new calf. The new mother must have upset the herd with sounds and smell of delivery. That was what all the noise was just before 3 o’clock rather than the sound of hungry critters like we thought. It was now nearly 4:30 and we were going to have to hustle to finish the cattle moving procedure without the mother and her newborn.

By 5:30 we were still missing two cows, Mike was scouring the brush around the river and I was on my side jungle-ing my way along cow paths through tall snowberry and blackberry briars taller than my head. I made the call to say we would be running late since we still had the chores to do on the house side of the road before getting cleaned up for our night out. We did finally locate the two missing cows, they each had their own brand new calves with them but were not yet ready to bring them in with the rest of the herd.

By the time we got to the house it was 7:30 and all I could think about was a shower and bed. I made the call to say we were not going to make it after all.

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