Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Farm lesson #276, Never wear clean clothes on a cattle working day!

It's cattle working day on the farm, something to look forward to and yet dread as we hope all will go smoothly. Probably the worst job is separating the cows from calves, this is the cacophony that greeted me when I arrived to help.

Kind of gets on your nerves, huh?

We always have a great crew, when they aren't at their job stations, they also make a great fence.

Clayton, the vet, is kind of cute, don't you think?

The fat cattle were the first to go through the chute, the air was thick with apprehension.

"No good can come of this!"

Clayton and Brian, the vet tech, make a good pair as they give the works to one of our future cows.

Bruce's job was to keep cattle moving through the alley way into the chute, but not too close together.

Because this can happen when you are following too close to your herd mate.

"Oh man, why did you say you were going to poop!!"

Some cows go into the chute and get on their knees, this cow knelt down before she went inside.....

...and crawled in on her knees!

Roger and Freddy boy kept the cattle moving.

The last to go are the calves, this was my little bottle baby, since he is a boy, he not only got shots, a new fly tag, pour on insecticide and, as a final insult, castrated. It's necessary to turn all the boys into steers so they don't get the chance to breed the heifer calves in the feed lot with them. I never used to stick around to witness the operations but I have found that they take it very well when they are this small. My little guy was stoic and didn't utter a peep, although I'm sure he was thinking, "How can you live with yourself?!"

The cows know the drill, once they are worked, they get to go to the pasture, "They're Off!"

Out of the gate and across the dirt lot, heading for the lane way leading to the pasture. They didn't even wait for their calves, the excitement was so great.

But once the euphoria wears off in the pasture, the cows suddenly come to their senses and realize they left their baby behind. So it's back up the lane way and into the dirt lot.

"Charles, where are you??"

"Coming Ma!"

I trailed the last batch of small calves down the lane and into the pasture, it was over and time for lunch.

It's tradition to have rolls and soda pop, in fact I'm not sure anyone would show up if I didn't come through. We were so busy hogging down the pan, this brave soldier was the only one left ..... and not for long.

By the time I was headed home to throw my poopy clothes in the washing machine, the cows were cooling off in the creek.

Cow Spa.

They love being in the pasture and we love having them in the pasture. The green grass is good for everyone after a long hard winter of hay and corn stalks.

We had an old cow, #31 who hadn't yet had her calf, she and two others were supposed to stay behind with the bulls until they calve. She thought about it and say, "Pffffft!" Climbed over a fence in her condition and followed the cows to the pasture. Two days later Bruce went to check on the herd and found she'd just had her calf, a little white face. He made sure the calf sucked and got him tagged. The next day I saw him in the pasture again driving to and fro so called to see what he was doing. He was looking for #31's baby, she was with the herd with no calf, so I went to the pasture to help. The cow was standing on the creek bank looking west, Bruce said, "I think she knows where he is." About that time, she turned, crossed the creek and headed up the hill to the east. Bruce said, "Well, I guess she doesn't." I walked the creek bank on the east side and he rode the 4 wheeler on the west, no baby. On the way back to the house, I was at the top of the hill and suddenly saw a flash of white across the pasture and yelled to get Bruce's attention. The flash was gone, I tried to direct him in the direction but didn't quite remember. He drove back and forth, I watched and there it was again, the white face! That time I could motion, "You're cold, getting warmer, warmer, WARMER, you're HOT!" Suddenly a baby calf popped up out of the deep grass right in front of Bruce, looked at him and charged! That got his mother's attention on the hill, she promptly came back down and crossed the creek to her baby. I told Bruce it's like the old joke, a 64 year old woman has a baby and a friend stopped by to see her.
"When can I see the baby," she asked.
"When she wakes up."
So they had coffee and soon her friend asked, "Please may I see the baby?"
"We have to wait till she wakes up," replied the mother.
Finally the friend said, "I have to go now, I'd just like to peek in and look at her."
The mother said, "We have to wait till she wakes up because I forgot where I put her."
I think that was the cow's problem.

1 comment:

  1. great blog entry, Julie - esp. liked the pix of the mama coming back, a bit chastened that she forgot her calf - and the little one running towards her. Great pictures, spot on descriptions as always. Hope you're getting that rain tonight, radar looks like it! Love ya, CG