Saturday, January 31, 2009

When Animals Attack

We are gentlemen ranchers, we are told, which means we get up late and are never in any hurry to get things done. Like our fall roundup. We started it in the fall, but just finished the last few animals yesterday. Their mama's just hadn't wanted to comply and we had to set up a round pen of panels and coax them in with some hay. Not too much of a problem really, except for a mule who thought the hay was all for her. I tried coaxing the mule out with some hay, but she wasn't having it. She saw ALL the piles in the round pen and kept chasing cows and calves out. Fortunately, for us, my hubby knows how to toss a rock and one well placed on her rump was all the convincing Ms. Riley needed.

So now we had a pen full of cows and calves. Maybe 20 all together. Seeing how the trailer we borrow (perhaps another one of those gentlemen rancher traits in that we don't own a trailer)would not hold all those animals and we didn't need the cows anyway and all of the calves are well over 6 months by now, we cut out the cows and left the pen full of calves. No problems. Smooth as silk. Mark backed up the trailer and we proceeded to load the calves. The last to load was a little heifer that was a tad slow. Well, really slow might be a better analysis. And this is when the excitement began.

The excitement might have began because someone, other than myself, prodded the poor little slow heifer with the long handle of a car wash brush (we couldn't find the cattle paddles, shaky thingy ma-jigs), or it could have been because at about this time a dog proceeded to jump out of the truck. A dog who loves to think she can herd animals and she was followed by another dog who definately knew better. All we know is that about the time the little heifer put her last little hoof into the trailer and we were latching the gate, all heck broke out. Our usually placid cows, who had been patiently and calmly standing outside of the pen, turned into an angry mob ready to roll the truck and trailer over and spray graffatti all over the place. We have never seen anything like it. They were ramming the trailer, panel, truck; a couple even jumped between the trailer and the truck over the hitch. Although I think she was chasing the dog. I at first laughed and then one blew snot all over my face and I realized she might head butt me for reals. Mark began hollering to put the dogs away, who I think had triggered some attack predator response in the cows. I ran like heck to open the tailgate and had the camper shell door hit me on my backside. Smokey jumped in first while Cait ran further away to draw the mob with her, I think, then she hightailed it back and leaped into safety. I hunkered down in the back of the pick up bed too, under the cover of the camper shell, while some of the cows mooed and glared at me. I actually almost wrote growled at me, for that is how I remember it. But cows don't growl, do they? After the dogs were put away, Mark ran to the truck and we drove away, taking the calves with us.

Here is the scene of the crime, later in the day. I was too scared to actually take photos when it was happening. I would never make it as a journalist!

I wondered why these cows raised such a ruckuss. They had never done so before and we have caught them in this way in the past. But maybe that was the problem! They remembered where we hauled their calves and what we did with them.

Here is Anna giving her first piercing to one little guy. Do you think he likes it? This is Katelynn, Anna's friend, looking rather cute while she holds the handle to our big bander. Mr. Chapman is below placing the rubber tubing around this little fellows unmentionables. Then they crank and crank and crank until it is good and tight. We haven't been cutting any calves for about a year. They seem to do much better with banding. We have a little bander with small bands for the young ones we catch in a timely manner and the big bander for the bad boys who hide out in the hills until their voices are very deep. Off course now their voices will soon move to something a tad higher. If you get my drift.

Katelynn also kept the needles loaded, but we couldn't get either girl to give vaccinations. They said, "needles scare me!" But apparenly not hot irons. Look at her smile...I think this gal likes to inflict pain. Branding is actually the only thing the animals bawl about. But still Anna smiles.You can't see her, but she is still smiling.
Well, she is only sort of smiling here. Maybe she is having second thoughts after the deed is done. I dunno, but she looks intense. Mama donkey has some second thoughts about the happenings going on around here. Apparently, some very dark thoughts!


  1. I think that's so cute they refused to vaccinate. Good for them--you want their help, they pick the job! :)

    So happy to see a new post from you. I miss you guys.

    Have I whined enough yet?

    And I love that you're gentleman ranchers. I think I'm going to pass that on to my family. The 4 AM breakfasts are a little ridiculous if you ask me!

  2. You guys have all the fun.

    Actually, cows can be quite aggressive if provoked, scared or they feel their calf is being threatened. 1,000 lbs of beef on the hoof can cause a bruise or two if she hits you going full speed.

    Good post.


  3. Love the Pics Tammie, Anna always learns something new when she is on the ranch. Thanks for having her. love Kellie

  4. You call yourselves "Gentleman Ranchers?" I don't believe the SPCA,PETA,PTA,FCC and the MIAP would think throwing rocks and hitting animals with mops to be "Gentleman" qualities. I only hope they don't catch wind of your behavior!

    Rick P.

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  6. Okay, I hope everyone knows that the last post was my attempt at humor? I am sorry if I offended any animal rights people or the author of this blog!

    Rick P.

  7. Wow, what an exciting afternoon! Glad you have so many helpers.
    Say, I'm a little naive, but I don't know what "banding" does that castration doesn't? Just curious! ;)

  8. I think Mrs. Donkey had the right idea, to stay far away. Those girls look like they were having too much fun with those needles and branding irons!! LOL!!

    I have always wanted to do a calf branding and such. Some day.......

  9. Pony Girl, when you castrate you cut open the scrotum sack pull the testicles down and use a crimping cutting tool to remove them. This, of course, causes an open wound and it seems to set the animal back in gaining weight. When you band, you place a rubber band type item very tightly around the top of the scrotum sack. This stops the blood flow to the sack and the whole thing eventually fall off. It sounds terribly painful, and yet the animals seem to keep growing without much change, and they don't even act like it hurts much. There you have it. A simplified and perhaps gross discription of the two methods to remove balls from bulls, thereafter to be called steers.


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