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Tagging the Calves and Fixing the Bulls - Blog Twenty Eight

Tagging the Calves and Fixing the Bulls - Blog Twenty Eight
March 25, 2024

Last week we used six people, two on horseback, two in four wheelers, and two afoot to try and herd the cattle into a pen.  Exhausted after an hour and a half I called it quits.  In all fairness, the two on horseback were thirteen years old, the two afoot were novices to cows, and the two in four wheelers knew less than those afoot.

We prepared for this morning.  It was time to ear tag the calves, castrate the bulls and deworm the herd.  I moved the squeeze chute in place then wired up panels to force the cows into the chute.  We planned how to move the cows into a certain area in the outdoor arena.  Doc, a veterinarian who boards with us, volunteered his services.   Logan came over and Garideth and George were here.   All good.   Well not really, the horses were let out before we cornered the cows.  The horses are bossy and pushed the cows away from the feed we were using as bait.  I told the ranch crew to move the horses to the upper pasture.  Slowly the horses left, but I feared the damage had been done.  The cattle were now nervous.

Beth rattled feed in a bucket and most of the cows slowly followed her into the outdoor arena.  But at the last minute something spooked them and they ran out.   Recall we have a stream that runs through the center of the property east/west.   We have a crossing for people and vehicles towards the west side.  Well, the cows showed us they have a crossing on the east side, which is about 800 yards from the west crossing.  They took the east crossing and we forded the stream behind them.  With wet boots and pant legs we followed.  They meandered to the west side of the property and hid in the thick trees.   We outran (that’s a nice way of saying we finally made it) them to the far west side and pushed them back across the stream on the west crossing.  Mind you by this time all vehicles were back at the outside arena because there is no east side vehicle crossing, so we walked the property east to west on foot - again.  Heck how else do you walk.  We had it solved was our wishful thought.  Beth started shaking the bucket and they headed back to the outdoor arena on the east side of the property.  Two cows went into the arena for a brief look and then ran with the other cows back across the stream.  Shoot, by this time we were all tuckered out.

I called a halt.   

Sad addition, we later found out our missing cow 247 was on the east side of the property hiding in the trees and crying over her lost calf.   Apparently, she had a stillbirth and just hunkered down by the calf for two days.  The other cows kept going by to see how she was doing.   Yes, we did get her up and she joined the herd but only after we quit trying to pen them.  I worry number 247 is not going to do well.

The cows stay in a herd until they don’t.   I think I saw one playful calf stick her tongue out at us.

We will try again but first we will assure the horses don’t get in the way.

P.S.  Beth was in her cowboy work boots which she now says are not made for walking like we did today.

We brought in nine horses today. Good place here everything was set up for us. And, we could easily move our large trailers around.

Heather Ridge Farms