Any time we introduce a new variety of animal to the farm there is a learning curve; I think of it as nature’s Luminosity. On a daily basis, problem solving and creativity are important skills to incorporate while going about the business of farming.
When we designed the cow pasture prior to their introduction, we (meaning Steve), devised a plan for moving the herd weekly in order to have the cows on fresh grass on a schedule instead of just allowing them to roam the entire acreage. This permits us to seed areas not currently being grazed up with varied nutritional grasses, thus keeping the land healthier. Every seven to ten days we move the portable fencing to another pie-shaped piece that revolves around their water trough.
The pasture is wide open except for one obstacle, the guinea coop. Last week was the first time the cows grazing area incorporated the land around it. Our challenge was to keep the coop door open wide enough for the guineas to get in during the day for water and rest, while keeping curious cows out. Steve wrapped an old bungee cord that allowed for about a one-foot opening, which was wide enough for the guineas to enter and exit easily.
The morning and early afternoon went well even though the cows were fascinated with the guinea coop. They circled it and just stood there staring inside at the thirsty birds grabbing a quick drink. It reminded me of the Chick-Fil-A commercial except the tagline would read “eat mor guinea”. We were feeling pretty confident that Steve’s bungee solution was solid. What we didn’t factor in was that none of the cows had yet tested said solution with their massive heads. That bungee cord was a mere speed bump.
At about 6 o’clock Steve happened to look out the kitchen window and called me over. “That’s an optical illusion right? The cows are on the other side of the coop, but it just looks like they are inside……right?”. We squinted and debated until the harsh reality set in.
Have you ever seen six 700 lb. cows try to all fit into an 8x8 enclosed space at the same time? Well it looks a lot like the 1950’s craze of trying to see how many people could cram into a phone booth. There were hooves, butts and big bellies all jockeying for position. As we grabbed our shoes to run outside I wondered how much it would take for them to rip the structure from its foundation and toss it aside like a dollhouse. Steve was screaming at them to get out of the coop before he even left the house. He started jogging towards the coop with arms flaying and foul language flying. I pulled on my boots on as quickly as I could and ran to catch up.
Was I running next to Steve in an attempt to be helpful? Of course not! I had pulled out my phone to document the chaos. I mean, if you don’t have video evidence, did it really happen?