Monday, January 12, 2015

The Pied Piper of Bovines

It could have gone better.
It could have gone worse.

That was my farmer's review of our snowy cattle-moving excursion last week.

As for me, I happily drove the pickup instead of the 4-wheeler. I usually like the 4-wheeler job. But on a day where the mercury didn't even make it to the freezing mark, I was just fine with a job inside the pickup cab.
We moved 27 cows from the sudan field where they'd been dining since November.
It looked a bit different on a cold January day ...
... than it did in early November when the cattle first arrived. They had lots of good eating, but the snow and cold temperatures, along with two months of chomping away, meant we needed to move them.
I was the Pied Piper of Bovines. The square bales of hay in the back of the pickup were supposed to entice the ladies to leave the field behind.
Randy took a bale out of the back of the pickup to tempt them.
Then, kind of like prompting a toddler to walk toward you by holding a much-loved toy as a prize, the hay bale went back into the pickup bed. Randy lowered the electric fence, but it still took a little coaxing to get them to follow the pickup.
With the snow cover, Randy hoped they would just follow the pickup down the road. But, of course, that would have been too easy. Instead, they took sojourns into a wheat field on one side of the road and a CRP field on the other. The guys on the 4-wheelers kept urging them back toward the road and the pickup.

I kept honking away on the horn to keep them focused on the pickup. The sound seemed to carry in the cold winter air. Thankfully, no neighbors came to investigate what the racket caused by all that incessant honking was about. 

I tried to gauge the optimal speed to keep them moving south. But, let's face it:  I didn't have the hard job. I wasn't driving through snow-filled ditches, while my fingers and toes got numb.
During the 35-minute excursion, I took a photo or two using the rearview mirror. (Yes, it really took that long to go a little more than a mile!) I tried some side mirror shots, too, but I think I'll need to use a little Windex next time to have those photos turn out.
A cow or two made a quick side trip to my front yard on our way by the house, before Randy herded them back on the road. 
We finally arrived at the pasture just south of our house. Our heifers - first-time moms - should begin calving at the end of this month. But these cows (and the other experienced mamas) will likely begin dropping calves around February 10.
Until then, the guys will be bringing them silage and hay to keep the maternity ward well fed and satisfied.


  1. All in the day of a Farm/Ranch Wife! You never know what those cows are thinking.

    We have a ranger and it's wonderful. Warmer than a 4-wheeler and easier to get in and out of when I open gates.

    1. When I was seeing the snow fly from the 4-wheelers and the snow on the cow's hooves as they went in and out of the ditches, I was definitely thankful for my pickup job!

  2. Looks like pretty cold work except for lucky you. LOL!

    1. So true! I am not ashamed to admit I had the cushy job this time!

  3. Looks like what Cameron and I did the other day. He was in the feed truck, me in the razor! I was bundled, so I didn't get cold...I kinda like the cold. I coulda used your sunshine though. :)

    1. I was impressed with your cold weather clothes (and especially with your eye makeup, since that's not part of my cattle handling routine)! Yes, the sunshine always helps with a little warmth and definitely attitude adjustment!