Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Garry the bull

Garry the bull (1996-2008)

 Garry splaying his front feet way out as if in an earth quake, and he still would not go down, so after ten minuets he was jabbed again.

 We had a bull a few years ago, we called him Garry, I had seen Garry advertised on the notice board at our local vet's surgery as a quiet Simmental bull good stock getter and easy to handle and seven years old.
After taking down the phone number off the bottom of the card, I rang his owner and duly went to see him "at home" and bought him. It turned out that part of his pedigree name was Linaka, so of coarse it was an obvious choice to shorten it to Garry after the retired footballer of that name.
Garry was a huge size and had to reverse himself out of the trailer when he was delivered to me, and within a few days was turned in with our suckler cows. He seemed a lazy and laid back sort of chap who when the cow he was following had been served once, he cleared off grazing. In fact I thought he was not working half the time but in the first three weeks he had successfully stopped all the cows.

This is Garry the Simmental in his last year with us 

Although he had been grazing on soft meadows with the cows for two years he gradually became lame, it was a growth or a corn that had developed between his cloven hooves in all four feet, one corn on his front foot became very sore and we called the vet for advice.
The only thing to do was to drop him with a needle, get him down and do the corns on all four feet, and give a good pedicure at the same time. So an appointment was made and we drove him into the coral ready for the vet, the vet being a young inexperienced girl who had been briefed on how to go about the job. A fair estimate was made of his weight, the dose was calculated and loaded into the syringe, Garry was trapped  behind a gate, (behind a gate because if he went down in the race he would be trapped) and his dose administered.
It gradually took effect and he should have gone down within ten minuets, after half an hour he was still standing swaying around with his front feet well splayed out making it impossible to push him down, even with some rope tied round his legs he still thwarted our effort to fell him, a further small dose was given but to no effect.
The job was abandoned; Gary was left in the coral to recover for a couple of hours, and a vigorous discussion was held with the vets. A further appointment was made and a senior vet came to resume the job that was started four days before. The same estimations were made as to his weight, and the medication was upped to a sure fire level of knocking him out. Just the same thing went on again with Garry splaying his front feet way out as if in an earth quake, and he still would not go down . So after ten minuets he was jabbed again, almost a kill or fell dose, we were told it was dangerously close to a lethal dose, and another ten minutes with his legs well bound, he finally went down.
Garry's head was pulled round and up to him shoulder, and held there while all his operations took place, we file and trimmed his hoof soles, and the vet got his knife out and cut the worst corn off, sprayed with purple spray and bound it to keep it clean and to stem the flow of blood. The other three feet the corns were frozen, with an aerosol the like that plumbers use to freeze a pipe to stop water flow when repairing a pipe.
The worrying bit now was the reverse injection, and how soon he would get up, in fact it was the best part of an hour before he did stagger to his feet, stayed in the coral for another three hours, then he was loosed back onto the meadows, with his bandaged foot being swung wide as he could not make out what had happened to him. After five or six days his bandage gradually unfurled and dropped off and he started to walk freely once again.
Garry's time came to an end when those same corns grew again, and the replacement heifers of his were needing another bull, so regrettably he was despatched off to meet his maker.
During the last foot and mouth outbreak in the 1990's we were forced to retain a bull calf out of one of our own cows, an Aberdeen Angus bull, we used him and kept a few  replacements from him, as we had done with the Charolais  bull before him. Then more recently we had a Hereford bull named Winston off a neighbour who is a breeder, so you can see from any photo's we have of our cows they are all beef bred, a total mixture of breeds, I like to think we have, hybrid vigour.

This is Winston the sire to all our present young stock

There's always one in every herd

There's always one in every herd, who won't respect the fence,
The one that's bold and watches out, not much common sense,
Test the boundary, test the posts, test rotten barbed wire,
That bit of grass just out of reach, the best she must acquire.

Gather the herd all round a gate, she's the one looking at you,
Ready to bolt and dodge and run, a test you think she knew,
She gets away the others follow, guess who's in the lead,
To the furthest corner of the field, just another stampede.

The electric fence its no use, the shock she can withstand,
Pushing the wire two yards beyond, break the single strand,
The other cows they follow her, they know she's got the knack,
Of how to beat the system, and always first to the rack.

Countyman  (Owd Fred)

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 escapin.

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.

Countryman (Owd Fred) 

Don't take the bull by the horns, take him by the tail, then you can let go when you want to.Josh Billings (1818-1885)