The man I am borrowing the cattle from (Marcus) called me Saturday afternoon and asked if I’d be willing to help a friend of his (Danny) move some Belted Galloway heifers from one pasture to another. I asked if they’d fight and he said no.
Famous last words.
When I got there, one cow was having a fit because her calf was already in the other pasture. The cattle had not been worked by a dog and as such, had no idea that a dog could bite. Gel hit a few when they came on to him head to head, but it wasn’t enough. Gel is not a strong enough dog to work cow/calf pairs or a bull and if I had known that was the situation, I would not have been in there with him. Since we were there, however, we worked as best we could.
We pulled the calf back over to his mother which settled things a bit. Eventually we put a line of cattle panels across the pasture to a corral essentially splitting the field in half. We got the bull calves and one ill cow separated from the rest of the herd. Gel helped in the corral splitting the calves. Then we slowly drove all but the bull into the other field.
The bull had my number. He kept eying me. Not a comfortable thing. When we were on the far side of the barn, he charged me. I ran back, intending to go over the fence that flanked the barn, but my foot got stuck in the thick mud against the barn and I ended up against the barn. Luckily the bull turned off before he hit me. My life flashed before my eyes then.
After that, I came out of the pasture, with my dog, and the men managed to get the bull into the corral.
We went back to Marcus’ house and got a trailer and came back for the bull. We pushed the bull into the barn, backed the trailer up to the barn, opened the door and he flew into the trailer. Yea!
After we were through, the owners of the cattle came out with their checkbook. They were going to pay all of us. I told them I didn’t want any money. It was the most fun I’ve had in days and it was experience for me and my dog. I told them the next time they butcher one of the cows, I’d like some scraps. The wife asked if I wanted some beef and/or venison. I told them of course.
I went home with three large bags full of grass-fed beef and venison! Better than money in my book.
On Sunday morning I was all but crippled when I got up. Between being bruised from falling down the stairs and then slamming into the barn avoiding a raging bull, I was all but done in.
In the afternoon Marcus brought over a load of compost for my garden then we sat on the dock and drank a beer while his boy, McKenzie and McKenzie’s cousin Callie, played with the dogs. Josey has become a different dog than she was a week ago. I can call her off stock about 60 percent of the time. He recalls are about 70 percent. I think she knows her name now too. After the beer, we went over to where Marcus has a flock of about 20 goats pastured. Gel fished them out of thick brush like a pro and drove them up to the barn. When he was fetching the goats to me, I noticed a goat kid was on the other side of the fence. While Marcus went up to feed the goats, McKenzie and I went to catch the goat kid.
Rounding up a single is difficult. They tend to panic and go in every direction other than the one you want the animal to go. This kid was no different. Eventually though, we caught the kid and returned him to the pasture.
All in all, even though we missed the cattle trial, it was a relaxing and fulfilling weekend. I am a firm believer in everything happens for a reason. We may have done well in the trial, or we may not have, but I enjoyed being home, rounding up rogue cattle, spending time with Marcus and McKenzie, my dogs, cats, etc. I reset my ElectroNet so the sheep and calves have a large area to graze. They are fenced around a large thicket which is an abandoned foundation. The sheep are having a ball scratching their winter hair off on the trees.
Life is good, very, very good.