Back to the Fall of 2012:
It's a sad day on the farm. The cow people came and took the calves out. So far it hasn't been too bad except for one mother who keeps calling for her baby. Supposedly there is a "right" time to take the calves out according to the Farmer's Almanac...and today is one of the days. I hope they are right.
So that started me thinking of all the cow stories and all the ups and downs of living near cows
Just some Cow Tales from the Mike and Lisa World
We starting working on our roads and the house here 4 1/2 years ago. The calves were already born for the season. I don't remember the exact number of cows on our land but we always have one adult bull, 6-7 cows(adult females), and their calves and bull calves.
Until that point I have never really had any run ins with cows....never really knew anything about them. The first thing I noticed was they are very very nosy. Whenever we drove in and worked the cows watched everything we did. Once the footers and walls were poured for our house....we found hoof prints all inside the house the next day. That's when the first fence went up.
The first time Niki met a cow
Before we moved over here we had to fence off the whole yard. The cows would chew on tractor wires and cables. They would tear up any fresh grass seed you put down. Yes we had many frustrating times with the cows. Basically they thought everything was a toy that they had to investigate. The calves were especially enthralled by my dog Niki. They were totally captivated by the little Pug either because they had never seen a dog or they just couldn't believe she was a dog, lol. Either way it was because of Niki that I was able to pet my first calf. I didn't have names for them so I just called them by the tag numbers on their ears. 96 and 98 were the friendliest ones. 98 was a bull calf and he became my favorite. I got to the point where I could hand feed him treats which was very exciting for a girl form NY, lol. He also knew my voice. If I called out to him, he would come running in hopes of getting more treats
One time three of the calves got inside our fenced off house area. One of them was 98. We had to chase all of them out except 98 thought I was playing a game with him. He would chase me and run away and then come back to me again. It was fun but we really really had to get them outside our fence.
By the end of the summer they were all very used to us. Niki got too close to one calf and got a "gentle" warning kick. To this day she will not get too close to the cows.
That was also the fist time I ever encountered a full grown Bull close up. I was working on the fence and this huge bull came strolling over to me and laid down. He just laid there watching me while I was working on the fence. It was a little unnerving to say the least. He was a good Bull but just too big for me to trust. I stayed on my side of the fence and only hoped he stayed on his side. Just in case I did have an escape route planned
That was the first year we experienced the calves being taken from their mother's. It must have been on the wrong day according to the Almanac because it was heartbreaking for days. All they did was cry for their babies.
I will never forget 98 and only hope he got to have his own harem and didn't go to auction. That's what I want to believe. He would be a good bull.
Me and 98:
The next spring more babies were born but after the first ones, they were always skittish. One thing that became very clear the following year was how caring and social cows are. DH and I called it the babysitting patrol. Each day a different cow would watch the "kids" while the others got to roam the land and graze. They all took turns...even the bull. They also talk a lot....by mooing to each other. If they are not close by they constantly call each other to see where everyone is.
We have experienced seeing the calves when they are only an hour old and sadly seeing one calf born dead and torn apart by a fox. We have gotten to pet the very young babies and also helped one out of the ditch who somehow got stuck.
Two years ago our original Bull went blind in one eye. Supposedly that made him untrustworthy and he was sold. We also had a change in the cows. Some were taken out and new ones brought in. We also got a new, very young and small bull that year. He is no longer small.
That was the first time we saw cows fight. My DH and I went down to the pond to feed the fish and two cows were staring each other down. My DH was on one side and I was on the other side of the cows. He told me to get back. The two cows started pushing each other around. This is where the busy body part of cows comes in. Every single one of the other cows came down to watch the fight. It reminded me of school kids yelling fight, fight. They all stayed back while the other two fighting girls got rough. One got pushed into the pond. This went on for about 20 minutes and they just walked away. I never did figure out if there was a winner but we haven't seen the cows get into a fight since. I guess it must have been a bad mood day Bulls will fight and that's why we always only have one adult bull with the girls. Lucky bull huh?
Over the years they have torn down more fences, gotten hoof prints on our freshly paved driveway. made a mess out of our pond and even reached over and eaten all of my green bean plants out of my garden. I was not happy with them that day. Overall they are funny to watch and hear, annoying, good at keeping the lawn cut, and still nosy.
Yesterday I got all excited because the Bull who is now full grown let me hand feed him carrots. It was cool I thought he might come to me. Last month I was carrying a bucket of apples up the hill and the bull came towards me. I had no protection and I didn't trust him. He was actually after my white bucket. I threw apples at him until I got back to the house.
So yeah I still get a kick out of the cows even when they can be a pain. Right now I feel heartbroken for them. They go through this every year....and next spring we will have new calves and the babysitting rotation will start over.
Just another day with cows!!!!