Sunday, 4 September 2011

The cows have got a leader

The cows have got a leader, and she watches all the while,

Miss her when she finally goes, to meet her maker's bullet,
End up as tough as old leather boot's, n' fill a of pack of suet.

Well its that time of year again  when the calves have got to be weaned, the shed has been prepare , the troughs along the front have got gates above them to stop the jumpers, the water trough has extra rails to stop them going through, enough bedding thrown down to last a month, a ring feeder positioned where it can be replenished from outside. The cows will shout by their field gate for three days, and the fencing in that area checked, and a lane end gate kept shut as a long stop. Where the cows will be bellowing is at the bottom of the gardens of nine houses, all of whom are "city" types, so to try to keep them sweet I ring the end one up each year, to forewarn them of the impending noise.

The Suckler Cows

The suckler cows they graze all summer, until we wean the calf,
When the calves we take away, cows they bellow not by half,
The calves the same in shed we keep, until they settle in,
Gates are high and fences too, all to stop them from esca-apin.

Three days it lasts, until they feel, the pain of hunger's stronger,
The cows they clear off down the field, and hang about no longer,
Calves have no choice but stay, feed them corn and feed them hay,
One month they need get used to living, in the yard all in a bay.

They all get wormed and gain no weight, till frettin they've forgotten,
Put them out on clean grass, feed supplements, no silage rotten,
There they will grow and gain the weight, they lost plus plenty more,
When at last they do get fat, read the scales its there we can't ignore.

One of last years calves at weaning

Chocky's with her new calf April this year 2011 

This is Chocky a Simmental cross Friesian, leader of the herd, she is no oil painting but always has plenty of milk, you can see her long square face in the picture, how wide her muzzle is, almost as wide as her eyes, and she is the one who has good eyesight and good hearing and always knows what is going on, on her patch.

One thing she cannot resist is a bucket with a bit of corn, and once she starts moving hopefully in the right direction the others tend to follow.

The Cows Have Got a Leader (This descibes old Chocky)

The cows have got a leader, and she watches all the while,
She knows exactly what ya doing, sometimes make you smile,
Only got to touch the gate latch, and up will go her head,
And walk towards the gateway, without a word being said.

Go to count them every morning, and check that they're all okay,
They think they want a new field, and walk off all that way,
Oblige them at your peril, as they mob you round the gate,
The fencing got to be strong, if you've got to make them wait.

If more than one walks in the field, leader walks the other way,
Takes the whole lot with her, she must know its testing day,
Got to walk round whole dam field, head them to the gate,
Seems that they have forgotten, and vet's is here by eight.

Leader walking off right way, the others following her lead,
Off towards the gateway, but they're gathering speed,
All stop short of going through, and start to circle round,
A young one makes a break for freedom, loose the lot confound.

A bucket with a bit of corn, the leaders up for that,
Always first one at the trough, and give her a little pat,
She follows where you walking, out off out down the lane,
Other think they're missing out, and follow once again.

So cherish your old leader, she can save you a lot of time,
Show the young cows where to go, while she's in her prime,
Miss her when she finally goes, to meet her maker's bullet,
End up as tough as old leather boot's, n' fill a of pack of suet.

Owd Fred

Out of all the herds around the world, there cannot be many who have not got a leader, ours is quiet and and come to the call, at the same time if she gets past you into a new field, just by pushing past, she will and the others will follow.  On the other hand we have had some very stubborn leaders and it makes hard work handling the whole herd.

Tell me if you have had the same experience, and what is youir leader like ?

Tongue- a variety of meat, rarely served because it clearly crosses the line between a cut of beef and a piece of dead cow
Bob Ekstrom, Pitt, MN


  1. We've got an old holstein steer named Buster who is our leader. He's 14 years old and still going strong at his job. He's gentle but his massive size ensures that there is no more than minimal fuss when we introduce a new group of calves to his pasture.

  2. Just looked at the records and the oldest I have is 12 years old, in fact three of that age, they have had at least nine calves each, but as sucklers cows they don't get pushed not like the dairy cows.

    Jason, What will happen to Buster when his time is up?