Hello Friends! It has been busy on the farm and the follies have been flowing!
I’ll start with Richard. Bessie and Nelly are ready for babies and our little Frat Boy is just not growing. He can’t even reach, the poor guy. Boomer tries every now and then, but he doesn’t have the equipment…refer to the “Turning Bulls into Steers” post for more information on that!
Enter Richard. One of our customers offered us a bull in trade for hay. One of the best things about small town living: bartering and trades! Cattle Daddy agreed to this deal and the delivery date was set! The downside is that Red is his daughter, so she had to be part of the trade as well. I was pretty upset about losing my most animated girl, but we deliver hay to this customer often so I can visit her.
We setup a little catch pen (for those non-farmers, it’s a circle of fence panels to separate someone from the herd). Here’s a photo, although, not actually on our farm but it gives you a visual.
So, there we are, waiting for the bull’s arrival (not yet named Richard). Everyone is calm and we are pretty optimistic about a smooth transition. Red is in the pen happily munching on grain, everyone else is wandering around the pasture. Here comes the truck and cattle trailer. Red immediately pops her head up and stares at the trailer. I go over to her and try to refocus her attention to grain. She becomes agitated and starts pacing. I am confused. Then it hits me. This is the same trailer that brought her here and she remembers it! And I’m in the pen with her! GAH! While I’m in there putting two and two together, the trailer pulls up next to the pen at the back gate. Two guys hop out, Cattle Daddy opens the gate, and the bull takes off into our pasture without a hitch. Then Red decides she will do the same! She rams her head into the cattle panels, her head goes through the panel and she takes off! They are latched together and she takes off with all the cattle panels dragging behind her!! Luckily, one of the corners unlatched and didn’t trap me, but Red was freaking out! Cattle Daddy and the other guys grabbed the panels to stop her and try to free her head! How many farmers does it take to free a cow head from a fence? Four…at least.
Finally, she is freed and VERY angry!! She takes off down the pasture to everyone else, including this HUGE new bull that doesn’t know us. The four of us break off and start trying to separate her from the herd and move her toward the trailer. She is having none of it. After running around for about 20-minutes with no luck, we drag the feed bunks over to the trailer entrance, rebuild the pen around it, and dump a bag of feed. Everyone comes running. In the confusion and feed frenzy, Red doesn’t realize how close she is to the trailer entrance. We calmly push her closer and closer to the entrance and close the gates around her! The only way out is into the trailer!! Victory!!
But then I realize that it’s time for her to go. She is calmly staring at me from the trailer. My Red. I walk over to say goodbye and give her some love, but it’s time to go because the other guys are tired from running all over the pasture. I was pretty sad. I wanted more time with her, I need closure! I hate herd transitions!
Now. Back to the bull.
After we recovered from that fiasco and watched everyone to see how this new guy fit in, Bessie and Nelly immediately made “friends” with him. Boomer tried to challenge him!! I have to admit I was a bit intimidated by him. He’s kind of big.
Everything seemed to be going okay. Cattle Daddy had to run to the store and told me to watch them for a while. Sure! No problem! I sat down at the kitchen table to oversee my farm kingdom and, well, got sucked into Pinterest. You can relate, right? Anyway, Cattle Daddy comes back and asks what happened to the fence. Fence? What do you mean? He says there is a hay bale on the wrong side of the fence. Huh? What? Where? When did that happen? Oops.
Well, the bull had decided to roll the 1,000-pound hay bale into and through the fence. GAH! Cattle Daddy made repairs and while he was doing that, the bull decides to THROW the feed bunks! Apparently, he thinks they are pasture toys. Two 10-ft feed bunks now lie in pieces.
That evening, we are standing by the fence overlooking the pasture and our pieces of feed bunks and I said this bull is a jerk. We are naming him Richard because the nickname for Richard is perfect for this guy.
But the fun is not over yet.
The next day, Cattle Daddy noticed our water pressure is low. There is also a strange hissing outside. Upon further investigation, we find that Richard also tried to throw the water trough, which is connected to an automatic watering unit and our well hydrant. He had BROKEN the stem of the water hydrant at the base. Cattle Daddy runs to the store and has to dig and repair the hydrant. GAH! RICHARD!
During all of this, Cattle Daddy finds it necessary to lecture me on bull behavior. Don’t ever trust the bull. Always have an escape route. Never turn your back on him. He is not a pet (because that worked so well for the first dozen). Yea, yea. He goes off to work and later that afternoon I go check on everyone. As I’m walking away, I hear a commotion and turn around. Richard is ramming Boomer into the fence!!! He rears back and hits Boomer in the side, slams him into the fence and BREAKS the boards!! Boomer falls to the ground, stumbles to get back up while Richard rears back for another blow!! He’s going to kill him!! I fly over the fence and charge at Richard while roaring like a crazy momma bear!! He looks up in surprise at this crazy human while Boomer gets up and stumbles away. I continue charging at Richard yelling like a maniac that Boomer is my baby and I don’t care how perfect his “breed conformity” is I will put him in the freezer! He backs up with confusion and concern. Nelly makes a feeble attempt to defend her man with a weak moo, but also looks concerned. I threaten to turn her into burgers too. I continued shouting burger-related threats like a maniac (would love to know what the neighbors think) until Richard has backed off. I go to Boomer to inspect him and make sure there aren’t any serious injuries. Then Richard tries to go after Tar!! I launch into another tirade at him, putting my babies behind me. He appears to receive the message and saunters down the pasture, while glancing back at me with serious concerns. Damn right burger boy, keep moving!
Boomer appears to be okay, with major ego damage. He gives Richard some distance from then on. Later that evening, I tell Cattle Daddy the details and, well, let’s just say he didn’t take it well. Apparently, charging at a 2,000lb bull is not abiding by the “be careful of the bull” rules. I had to endure dozens of articles about farmers killed by bulls but, hey – Richard and I have a clear understanding now.
A few weeks later, I see a post about gators loving marshmallows and I wonder if cows like marshmallows. YES! YES, THEY DO!! Especially, big bad old Richard! He turned into an absolutely puppy for marshmallows!! I kind of like him a little more now.
As always, thank you for visiting! Much love!!
PS. W delivered hay to Red’s farm a few weeks later and she came running right over to say hello! She was with her original family and doing great! I still miss her though!