Have you ever heard that expression “I’ll love you till the cows come home”? Know why they say that? Because the cows don’t EVER come home. Let me repeat that…if you don’t go get them…. they.never.come.home!
Many years ago we had a neighbor pull up to let us know he saw 3 Jerseys heading down the road….ON the road! Don’t ever let anyone tell you that cows can’t hoof it when they’ve a mind to! (Where do you think that expression comes from?)
Here I am, more than 10 years after writing this post http://themommyherbalist.com/2008/01/till-the-cows-come-home/ and the stinkin’ cows still don’t come home! Sometimes things don’t change on the farm!
And then there was the great Cattle Round up of ’03 – another story for another time….
The other day we went out to check on things and found two of our cows, Dixie and Toolie, in our neighbor’s pasture and they weren’t interested in heading home! Hubby dropped some feed in the trough which peaked their interest (they know that sound means something yummy!). They came back to our fence line but couldn’t get in and we still hadn’t figured out how they got out.
Dixie and Toolie may look innocent but don’t let that fool ya! Cows have personalities and these two are stinkers! Dixie is our Herd Queen. I don’t know if Toolie broke out and Dixie followed to “keep her safe” or if Dixie was the escape artist and Toolie went a long for the ride…
Toolie has a mind of her own – I don’t think Dixie “made her do it” no matter how much she may say so….
Thankfully there was a son at home. When chasing cows, many hands (ATVs, horses, buckets of feed, cow cookies and halters) make light work. I took our “cow machine” loaded with feed to our neighbors field while hubby and my son worked their way through the fence to lead them home.
Trying to convince a 900 lb creature to do your bidding isn’t easy. They were tempted by our neighbors lush field of hay coming up. Our neighbor would prefer that the hay be intact when he goes to harvest in a few weeks. Thankfully, the sweet people who raised these cows halter trained them. Toolie (who may be my favorite cow…ssshhhhh…don’t tell the others!) happens to be a little younger and a little more stubborn than Dixie.
Toolie took a step, thought about it, locked her knees for a minute or two till we hugged on the halter, took another step…locked her knees and so on and so on…all the way back to the barn.
Dixie was a little more cooperative. I tempted her with “cow cookies”. My cows love cow cookies! Dixie will follow you anywhere if she thinks there is a chance that you might have a cow cookie in your hand. Once she was convinced that the barn was inevitable…and that it would be a tasty walk….she cooperated much better than Toolie.
This is what it looks like when the cows are coming home.
We found where they broke through the fence, went into the lower field and followed the fence line til they found the break where our neighbor had been doing some work. Thankfully they followed the fence line in our neighbors field back toward our farm instead of down to the creek so they weren’t too far from home, although Toolie was pointed due east and planning an escape!
My son repaired the fence, we closed the gate to the lower field so they were “land locked” on our farm. Then, using some poly-tape electric fence we expanded their field to give them some of that lush grass growing on our own farm. But you know what they say…”grass is always greener on the other side”. I don’t know who originally said that, but I’ll bet my last dollar it was a cattle farmer!
Right now, everybody is happy. We are using electric poly-tape right now while we work on building permanent additions to their field for rotational grazing. We are trying to lessen the amount of hay we need to feed to our cows during the winter months. We raise our cows as grass fed and green grass is always better than hay. We have the land so we have decided to put things in place this spring, summer and fall, to utilize the grass rather than mow and bale it. Better for the land, the cows and for us too, both financially as well as the quality of our beef.
Here in Tennessee where we live, there is rarely snow on the ground for long, so rotational grazing year round is possible.. We work with our Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) – we have an amazing gentleman who helps us create our plan, helps us set up rotational grazing and even comes by to help us set up temporary pastures. Truly blessed by Mike!
If you want to read my original story about run away cows, you’ll find it here: http://themommyherbalist.com/2008/01/till-the-cows-come-home/