Tuesday, July 15, 2008

That's a lot of bull

When we decided to rent out our pasture this season, we understood that there would be 30 pregnant cows on it. The guy who rented it felt that it might be a lot of cows for the acreage, but thought he'd probably be pulling off some of the cows whose pregnancies didn't take. (Remember that he used some new-fangled technique where they are basically surrogate mothers.)

Well, I guess plans changed a bit because he decided to just add a bull to cover any gaps in the pregnancy coverage.

So one day, the conversation went like this:
Caleb- Hey, Mom! Did you know there was a bull on the pasture?
Me-No there's not, Caleb.
Caleb-Yes there is! Even Dad saw it.
Me-Ok, ok. We'll see.
So, later that same day, as we were pulling away from the house and driving down the road in front of the pasture:
Caleb-See, Mom! There he is! You can tell by his face!
Me-Um, oh my. That's not the only way you can tell.

And there you have it. We have a bull. Well, we don't have him, but he's there on the land.

But, you see, the cows themselves are quite intimidating. They are significantly larger than our sweet Annabelle and they really don't have great manners. When you walk near them, they either follow you or take off running (read: stampeding). There's not much in between. And when a thousand-pound cow startles and starts to run, it gets your adrenaline going. Which wouldn't even be an issue except that our laying flock is located out on the pasture and we must go out there twice a day. A few times, the kids have gone to let out the chickens by themselves, only to come running back because the cows were chasing them.

Now add the bull to that equation. Not only is he HUGE, he is a raging ball of testosterone and we are in his territory, making his ladies run off in all directions. So for that quarter-mile round trip to the chickens, it's a little nerve-wracking. We prefer to go out there when the herd is on the far side of the pasture in order to try to avoid them altogether, but sometimes, they hide just over the hill where the coop is and then we are stuck dealing with them.

Last night, the kids and Don went out to gather eggs and close up the coop. As they were returning, I could hear Don saying, "Hurry up!" and when I peered in that direction, I could see the three of them walk-running just feet in front of 'ole Mr. Bull. And he wasn't letting up. He followed them all the way back to the gate and then stood on the other side of it for a while.

If push came to shove (oh Lord, I hope it doesn't!) we could jump the fence and get away from the cows and their man. But, beside that, this morning, Caleb gave me this advice: "Don't make eye contact. Just lower your head and then look out of the corner of your eye." I guess he didn't think I should be waving my red handkerchief and yelling, "Ole!" Go figure.

1 comment:

Lona said...

Oh please! Do NOT let your little ones go in that pasture. And do NOT go there yourself. Move the chickens if you can, or get rid of the bull.

I sound like a crazy person, I know, but you cannot trust a bull at all. What is that man thinking?! And he didn't even ask, or tell you he was putting the bull in your pasture?

Experienced cattle handlers have been killed by bulls--bulls they worked with day in and day out for years. And one day the bull just goes wacko.