I really wish I had some pictures to put up, because yesterday was a crazy day. But we were too busy. It’s really too bad, because it would be so exciting to post pictures of Richard the Bull kicking up dirt, shaking his horns, charging and being a total jerk while we tried unsuccessfully to guide him into the trailer. Or a picture of Matilda with all four feet off the ground, pronging as she charged wildly down the wrong grazing line. Yes, it was that kind of a crazy day.
We also had to take the baby chickies out. They were getting crowded and the deep bedding had reached the point in which the waterer didn’t fit anymore. They grew so fast! Of course it rained yesterday, and the weather changed, but we gave them some extra shelter, so hopefully they’ll be fine.
The biggest thing we had to do yesterday was get Richard home. He was so expensive to keep, eating an entire round bale himself each week. Otherwise, he was extremely well-behaved until it came time to be put in the trailer. He doesn’t have a halter or anything to make it easy to catch and lead him. Eventually, after much hassle and life-endangerment, we got him in. It was such a relief to drop him off and drive away. We are going to stick with AI next year. I hope I’ll be better at telling when the cows are in heat by then.
The next exciting thing was moving the cows out to the grazing lines. We didn’t have enough electric wire to put up a line to guide them all in, so we figured we would just lead them with a bucket. While we were dealing with Richard, we had put Matilda, Isla and Geranium in the milking paddock, which is really too small for them, but we thought it would be quicker than it was. They spent the whole time goring each other with their horns and fighting over who would eat all the leftover peanut hay. Chestnut-case got out and ran half way around the 40 acres.
Once we got Richard in the trailer, we let them out and tried to get them excited about the bucket, which they didn’t care about in the least. Instead of following the bucket, they ran bucking and kicking around and around while we tried to catch them. Ethan caught Geranium, who was by far the best-behaved (yes, that kind of a day), and started leading her up. Isla started to follow and got distracted. Matilda evaded me until I finally caught up with her around the feed area, where she was trying to savage the steam rolled barley container. I caught her halter, but had to weigh her head down with all my weight while she went charging after Geranium, trying to rip away and gore my side with her horns the whole way. Isla came up from behind us, not wanting to be left behind, and as she passed Matilda and me (kicking up her heels as she went) Matilda switched into stampede mode and I had to let go or be dragged through cactus and small oak trees.
Ethan got Geranium in easily enough, and we both shooed Isla in after, but Matilda went charging along the wrong grazing line to the far end of the property where she was just a little speck. I was worried she was going to step in a gopher tortise hole an break a leg or something. She’s just too big to move like that (I’ll bet she’s stiff and sore today, too). She made an about face and came running back at top speed, but I headed her off and we got her in. We almost didn’t care enough about Chestnut to go catch her, but I got a stick (not to hit her with, as tempting as that might be, to lengthen my arms for shooing), and headed her off over by the calves’ paddock. She went running back, shaking her horns, towards Mirin, who had ignored my dire warnings to stay in the back of the truck, had run up to “help.” From a distance I saw him stop, turn around and run away as fast as he could. We did get Chestnut back in eventually, and Mirin later told me, “I almost fainted when Chestnut was charging at me! I could feel her hoof beats thundering on the ground.”
On the way to take Richard back we finished reading The Hound of Ulster, in which Cuchulain and his charioteer alone are holding off Queen Maeve’s army at the North Gap so they can’t steal the Brown Bull of Ulster. I would have let Connact come and take the Brown Bull if they’d wanted too, only they’d have to get him in the trailer themselves.