The main herd is currently divided into two groups. The mothers with calves are in the nursery field and the remainder of the cows with the herd sire are on the outer reaches of the fields. The main herd can chose to lounge under tall trees in the woods, they can trek the logging roads for grassy areas to forage, or make the walk back along the base of the hill to the back of the fields where the spring is located or sometimes they cross the river to hang out across the road from the bull pen or the show cow pastures.
Normally the groups stay fairly well concentrated in their groups and it was unusual to have the herd split one day when it was feeding time. Instead of all the main herd being by the feeders waiting for the evening meal, we only saw the herd sire patiently waiting for the hay to be hauled around the corner of the barn. The sire, Prowler, is a social sort and doesn’t hang around by himself, he is content to follow the ladies around and sometimes takes the lead when it is mealtime, but being alone at the feeders is not seen regularly even though it was mealtime.
By the time we got out to the feeders with the hay, more of the herd began to trickle in from where they had been grazing on the other side of the river. But it was only about half the herd. Mike used his ‘come boss’ holler to bring the rest of the cows to dinner but none showed up. Knowing critters as Mike does, he assured me that the rest of the herd had most likely headed up hill to find fresh grassy areas to graze and were probably out of hearing range for his hollering and said that he would expect the missing critters to be down off the hill in the morning for breakfast.
Morning time came and the feeding schedule commenced. When we began feeding the nursery field critters first, we saw a line of cows coming down off the steep slope over by the logging patch we had cleared last year. After missing an evening meal they were ready to head to breakfast when they heard the Gator were quick to get to the mangers before we unloaded their share of hay. Once missed mealtime was enough to remind them of the feeding schedule.
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