Momma Always Said There Would be Days Like This
Today, was one of those days. Our cows decided it was convenient to pop out mostly males this past fall/winter, so I recently listed a few of the bull calves for sale. It is also time to rotate out the bull. So, this morning we had two farms come to pick up two of the bull calves. We wrangled three into a different pasture yesterday afternoon (I'm thinking an extra just in case), with the first one into the catch pen. This took an hour and a half. Little frustrating, but still pretty good. This morning we get up early to put the second one in the hay barn, and lo and behold, there's only two in the pasture. Guess which one isn't there? The one we put in the catch pen! It had not only broken out of the catch pen, but broken through the cross fence to get back to the other side with it's momma. Mind you, these things are 6-9 months old already.
The first bull calf is going to a farm in which we partially traded for goats. They unloaded the goats and spent about 2 hours trying to help us wrangle these poor cows back to the second pasture. Each and every time we got these poor things where we wanted them, they'd find another place to hop back over to the other pasture. The second farm showed up 2 hours into this fiasco. We just happened to have gotten lucky enough that we managed in one of the wrangling sessions to get the bull calf they were here to pick up back into the barn. We got him in the first farm's trailer, with minimal effort, and did a trailer to trailer transfer! First time for everything! They were here for maybe all of 30-45 minutes. At least one went semi-sorta ok :) So quick thanks to God, and then back to deciding what to do about the initial transfer. We end up dropping their trailer and letting them go home with the promise to bring the bull calf later this afternoon.
We literally spent another three hours trying to get one, just ONE, of the bull calves into this second pasture and into the trailer. We finally get him in, and it starts pouring down rain! Wait, please just wait, a few more minutes. We have to catch a ram lamb to go with this guy. 20 minutes of pouring down rain, and it lets up enough to go catch the next poor animal. We were lucky in that the ram lamb we were catching has a very friendly mom. A couple of treats next to their shelter, and he was easily snatched!
I wish I could type all the details. Y'all would probably laugh for days, but you'd also be reading for a day! Long story short, our day started at 7am trying to move cattle and ended about 8:30pm finally done with them. We do have a few to let back over in the morning because we left the minute we got the little bull calf captured. Hopefully we won't be waking up to more broken fence!
For anyone who's curious, barbed wire does not contain cows when they don't want to be contained!! This was our first time actually singling out animals from a herd to sell them, and I would call it a success. Absolutely, NOTHING else got done today, but we did get those bull calves to their new homes. I was NOT giving up after all we'd been through and not getting those bull calves where they belonged!
As a last note, I should caveat this whole story by saying 1) cows don't take kindly to strangers being in their pastures, and 2) it doesn't help when the leader of the pack is skittish and keeps taking all the babies to the woods every chance she gets! Normally these cows change pastures in 2 minutes with no problems!
Tomorrow morning will come early. We'll need to get our normal animal chores done, move the remainder of the cows over, and make sure the fences will hold everyone long enough to run a few errands. We are picking up more blueberry trees for the orchard and garden and fencing materials! Goodnight y'all.