Saturday, 2 February 2013

The Persistent Escapee (cow)

The Persistent Escapee (cow)

I remember father counting, cattle each and every day,
He counts and looks at every one, to see they're all OK.

A cow that persistently gets out, gets better at it, she learns to jump or hop over slack wire, learns to push rails down and push at the legs of electric fence posts, and push through weak places in hedges. Bulls soon learn to lift gates off there hinges or as a neighbour's bull has done he will break wooden gates in two.

It's a matter of not letting them get into the habit of getting out, "the grass is always greener etc". A secure fence, with barbed wire pulled up tight, barbed wire put up slack looking like a washing line is no good.
Cattle are a herd animal and they will all follow a leader, and if it's the leader that is that persistent one that is always getting out your in trouble. They all have there own personality and it shows when studied, particularly when gathered and handled.

They range from the one that steps forward to have its shoulder scratched to the one that will charge at you when cornered, and as for the newly calved cow even the most placid cow can turn nasty and charge. Their behaviour often follows in families, and how the mother behaves is passed down to the calf at a very young age, almost a perception or body language is read by the calf from birth, and if it's the bull that has a bad attitude being handled or driven, he too will influence the attitude of the herd.

There is often the one with the wicked eye, and the one that lifts her head up and pricks her ears at the first sign of strange movement in the field. Some will venture forward and investigate to see what's going on, the others follow by herd nature, and some will disappear away behind the herd or into a hollow where they cannot be seen.

It only takes one cow to give out a Bellow rather than a Moo, and the whole herd will go running to investigate what's going on. It some times happens when assisting a calving, when the cow gives one last big push and a bellow at the same time, then is a good time to retreat rapidly.
Back to the one that gets out, I solved the problem by selling her, she would get out into the farm track and graze down the hedge banks, then instead of getting back the way she had come, she would walk down to a small group of ten houses at the end of the track, walk into the gardens and round to the back (all open plan, silly idea) and hop over their back fence into her field.
When this had gone on for quite a few months the folk in the houses were getting very angry, every foot print sank deep into the lawns, the evidence was there, the row of peas were being grazed and dung pats left in exchange. The gardens are a foot or so above field level and while the fence was a sensible height from the field, from the gardens it was only knee height to the cow.

Some of the gardens had wooden panel fences with my barbed wire fence on the field side others are fancy post and rail or chain link wire mesh, all were pitched at a height that the occupants could see out across the fields. At this point I must say it nearly always happened during the night, and when they rang me to complain and I went to investigate only the foot prints were there. I finished up putting a new gate on the end of the lane; the cow then walked through the lane side hedge into the first house garden a six foot tall beech hedge and continued with the same route back to the field.
Fortunately she was the only one doing it, and she was so persistent that the only option was to sell her. She was a young well built cow only had three calves and I though it would be a good idea if she gave someone else a bit of "entertainment", NIMBY (not in my back yard).

The cows are Charolais Angus Simmental crosses put to a Hereford bull, calves are April born

I Remember Father's Cattle
In the mid 1950's vets were recommending worming young stock with a new product called phenothiazine. This was a green powder and had to be mixed with water and a pint or so was pour down their throats.(drenched)

I remember father counting, cattle each and every day,
He counts and looks at every one, to see they're all OK,
Now one day he sees's one cough, and then it was another.
If we don't do something quickly, we'll be in a bit of bother.

So off down he goes to get, some wormer in a rush,
And back he comes and reads the label, says get them in a crush,
No crush have we, but four strong lads, we'll get them in a stable,
Mix water and green powder in a bucket, put it on the table.

Four long neck bottles we did find, for dosing all the cattle,
Phenothiozine, it's called, and keep it stirred or it will settle,
The pop had gone as we made sure; we loved the fizzy taste,
One pint and half was dose that's needed, over dose was waste.

Pint ladle and a funnel now, into the bottled it was measured,
Us lads went in among the stock, as tight a they could be,
The bottles we did pass to one, who had ones chin held high,
Uptip the med-sin to back of throat, do not look down or ni.

The cow that coughs, coughs both ends, and chuck it back they try,
Its just a waste as we were told, but hits you in the eye,
Soon learn to leave it quickly, as soon as we could shift,
As dosing cattle get there own back, now who's being thrift.

We often wondered why we lads, had grown so big and strong,
When other lads around us, were only lean and long,
Put it down to fresh air, and read farmers weekly magazine,
But all the time it wasn't, twas Phenothiazine.


Many of us have heard (herd) opportunity knocking at our door (garden), but by the time we unhooked the chain, pushed back the bolt, turned two locks, and shut off the burglar alarm, it was gone ( the cow).
Author unknown

1 comment:

  1. Great post Fred. It is absolutely amazing what some cattle will do just to see what the other side of the fence is like.