From Pipi’s Pasture: Another cow story
After last Sunday’s “cow turn-out,” I decided I needed to write one more column about our cows’ 2016 antsy springtime behaviors.
It isn’t unusual for the cows to get fidgety this time of the year with the arrival of warm weather and green grass, but this year, they seemed a little more restless than normal. From past experience, we knew they were getting ready for summer pasture, but the pasture wasn’t ready yet. So we fed extra hay and put out an extra mineral tub. The cows were full, and they enjoyed naps in the sun, but they were just plain restless.
Every morning, the cows and calves ate off the newly sprouted grass on Pipi’s Pasture, but the pasture isn’t very big. They were hoping for a pasture of bright green grass and dandelions. They walked along the fences, trying to reach any grass on the other side.
Finally, a couple of days before we were ready to turn them out, they became really pushy, especially two of the cows — Catfish and a first-calf heifer known as #42. They learned how to get down on their “knees” so they could push their noses through the wire and eat off any grass on the other side.
One evening, Lyle found Catfish with her head under the fence and the wire pushed up around her head. She had pushed so hard she broke the bottom of the woven wire. Lyle shooed her away and started repairing the wire. Catfish moved about two feet away and stuck her head under the wire again. Lyle shooed her away and repaired the wire. This went on until Catfish gave up.
The next morning, a day away from turn-out, I was up at 5:30 a.m. to make coffee. I heard the cows making a big fuss as they ran along the fence. Then, I saw my worst fear — a cow on the county road that runs along Pipi’s Pasture.
I dashed to my car, drove out to the road, turned the cow around (it turned out to be #42) and herded her up the lane to the house. When I brought the car back to the house, I found her happily grazing on the front yard lawn. The other cows and calves were on the other side of the fence, wondering how #42 got there.
I coaxed #42 into the backyard and closed the gate. Thank goodness for gentle cows.
Later, Lyle and I put her calf in with her, and that’s where she stayed all Saturday and Saturday night — not that she minded. She had plenty of grass, shade and water.
When we went to feed, Lyle and I got a good look at the fence next to the highway. Just overnight, the cows had pushed on it so hard some of the posts were leaning. So while we were at it, we put Catfish in the corral — in lockdown. Then, Lyle went around the fence, repairing it. He never did find #42’s escape place. The rest of the day and night were peaceful.
The next morning, we gathered the cattle and fed them a little hay in the corral. It was turn-out day. Our grandson Kenny was there to help. We sorted and paired a load of cows and calves. Guess what? After all of the bawling and fence pushing and everything else, the cows did not want to load. It seemed like it took forever.
After awhile, we had two loads ready to go. We drove them to pasture and opened the gate. There it was — beautiful green grass and dandelions. We opened the gates of the trailers, and the cows and calves were at the pasture. Guess what? Some of the cows headed down the county road as if it were fall and they were going to my brother, Duane Osborn’s, corral to load up and go home.
But now, all the cows, calves and bulls are on summer pasture and happy as can be, and guess what? I miss those silly animals.
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