We’ve had cows on the farm for nearly a year. Any time we introduce a new type of livestock, there is a learning curve. I remember when the guineas were new to us and we panicked every time they wandered off of the property. We spent hours upon hours trying to wrangle them back, only to discover they pretty much come and go as they please, despite our efforts to keep them safely on our land. We stopped interfering and, what a surprise, they managed to make it home every evening for bedtime.
Cows are fairly easy animals, but we are still learning how best to deal with them. Unlike the guineas, cows are massive so making it through the learning curve phase is a bit more challenging. For example: Steve has learned that it hurts really really bad when, while passing out treats, a 800 lb. bovine steps on your foot.
For the most part, our cattle are exceedingly friendly. They approach us every time we enter their pasture, to say hello or to investigate whether or not we are packing snacks for them. They sniff our pockets and lick our hands. We have one remaining standoffish heifer, Lolita. She is one of our newest purchases and isn’t completely comfortable with us near. We’ve worked our way to getting close enough to almost touch her, but she scampers away when we reach out.
Yesterday Steve had a conundrum. Our hay ring is large and extremely heavy. It has two wide openings and several small ones. Lolita had found her way into the hay ring and Steve was concerned that she wouldn’t be able to find the right opening to get back out. He decided to “help” her. By “helping” her I mean to scare the living shit out of her.
As Steve approached the ring to guide her to the wide opening, Lolita panicked and charged towards the safety of the opposite side. Then she dove through one of the smaller openings, only to get caught midway. She couldn’t get back into the ring and she couldn’t get out. Now in full freak out mode, Lolita began running, dragging the ring along with her. The other eight cows thought it was a game of chase so they started charging too. Ever seen the clowns at the rodeo who act as a decoy for the frenzied bull?.......well that was Steve. He was frantically running away while glancing over his shoulder, as Lolita was wildly bucking the hay ring off of her back with eight crazed, thunderous cows followed in hot pursuit. Yee haw……good ol’ farm entertainment!
I learned two valuable lessons yesterday: #1 Lolita figured out how to get into the hay ring by herself so she can figure out how to get out of the ring by herself and #2 I need to get my phone out faster. A video of that would have become an instant classic.