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How to Catch a Cow

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  • How to Catch a Cow

    I had one of those surprises we all dread this morning. I woke up, went out to the kitchen ready to make coffee, looked out the window to see the horses (my habit) and noticed all the horses were looking towards the front of the property with GREAT interest. Curious myself now, I walked to the front and what do I find in my front yard? Most of my herd of beef cattle...3 cows, a young bull and two of the three calves were out. One old cow was not there either...hadn't gotten loose yet. They were having a great snack.

    In a tizzy...worried sick they'd get out on the road or take off, I dressed fast and headed out trying to figure out how in the heck I was going to get a bunch of loose cows back where they belonged by myself. No one else is home. I've heard so many nightmares of cows heading from home and not wanting to come back. Turns out there are some advantages to have spoiled rotten cows like mine who see you as the "bringer of food."

    I walk out and my head cow, aptly named Bossy, spots me and bellows "there she is girls!" and I found myself the center of attention. The cows all turned to walk towards me, bellowing loudly, and the bull and calves turned to follow them. So like the Pied Piper, I led my herd of cattle back to their pasture stopping long enough to grab a bale of yummy horse hay as a reward for their obedience. They all followed me in an orderly fashion, not running me down however they were very loud and vocal until I gave them their goodie in their pasture. What a riot.

    I found the escape site...it was an adjoining paddock fenced in board that I'd opened up to let them graze down yesterday. The two bottom boards fell down and they walked out. They were put back in the hot fence area and spent the day basking in the shed chewing their cuds from their adventure.

    So what a pleasant surprise in dealing with my first great cattle break out...I could hardly believe how easy it was...easier than capturing a loose horse! Who'd have thunk they'd just follow me home? I guess being kind to your cows pays off. They are smart and funny creatures. Hopefully they don't figure out a way to start another grand adventure. They took a lap of their 5 acre pasture tonight looking for a way back to their yummy yard and I tested the fence which is hitting hard and hot. Fingers crossed they are where they are supposed to be tomorrow.

  • #2

    It was always a hoot to see the cows coming when my uncle called them. From the far reaches of the pasture.


    • Original Poster

      They sure are NOT stupid. It's funny how clever they are especially where food is concerned! My girls are so spoiled that they will bellow when they see me and demand that I give them something better than what they have. They love the horses hay of course...it's much yummier than their own or so I'm told.


      • #4
        Good for you, cattle out on highways is very scary.

        Just don't try calling them to eat across a fence, be sure to aim for a gate.
        They will jump or tear the fence down to come to you and the feed.


        • #5
          Good cows!! You must be a good cow "Momma"
          Follow us on facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pages/River...ref=ts&fref=ts


          • Original Poster

            Just want I wanted to be... a cow "Momma!" Ive had Bossy and her two sisters, Spooky and Shorty, (my names are not very original) since they were not quite yearlings so they are quite used to me and my routine. Their three heifer calves this year and chips off the old block also and the other day the one red calf was standing there bellowing at me imitating her mother.

            Bluey, yes, the road was what I was thinking of too. I so rarely have anything get out here...but it does happen at the best of farms.

            When I do move them around the farm to change pastures, I simply have to walk towards the gate and call them. They know yummy fresh grass waits for them. Who needs a cowpony?


            • #7
              A bucket of grain has saved the day many times here!

              On the ranch we would chase the cows back in but now we're near roads too and they have to be coaxed to follow, not run!
              “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey


              • #8
                We woke up one morning and found a herd of about 12 cows, and a few calves outside out bedroom window. The horses were watching with great interest. The neighbors cows got out, again, from the barbed wire down the road about a half mile. We live on a U shaped road, so they didn't get out on the bigger road.

                We share a fence line with these cows, beef cows, the wilder of cows. I called my endurance arab, hopped on him bareback with a halter, and we rounded them up, pushed them through a series of gates, and into our back pasture. I turned my arab out in the pasture, with my young arab colt, and they all ran off to the end of the pasture - 15A - about. I had to get ready for work, so went out before I left and all the cows were GONE. Horses were gazing over into the 200A cow pasture. They must have chased them back into their pasture, through the barbed wire, or ? I am pretty sure the cows came here because they knew my horses, and my horses them. If cows got out, my horses would call to them. And they came, or stayed close and not go out on the bigger roads. My yard was a mess though, but no real damage.

                My horses are a bit of peeping Toms with the cows. They love the cows. The cows are now gone and it is now a farmers field. I would ride in the cow pasture and the cows would follow us and be so friendly. No cow or calf was scared of my horses. One time I took a friend on her horse, and the cows were not so friendly to that horse. Interesting. One horse I had could be seen leaning over and allowing the calves to lick him on his face. ?? This arab was good with cows. He could "speak" cow. All cows were friends of his. Made it nice when later in his life we would cow pen. No matter if the cows were all the same color, if I showed him one cow he would remember which cow it was to pen. Either by their face or smell. He was so not happy when they all left and they plowed the field up.

                The fence line now has mesh. I do not do barbed wire.


                • #9
                  Thank goodness you didn't need a tranquilizer gun!

                  Your story almost makes me want to work on getting over my cow phobia. Maybe if I could get some small ones to start - wonder what kind of kine microbovine has?
                  I'm not ignoring the rules. I'm interpreting the rules. Tamal, The Great British Baking Show


                  • #10
                    We had cows one field over and the neighbor mares derived a great deal of entertainment from watching them. Ihey'd stand in the shade of a tree on the ridgetop watching over the fence and I could see them. If there was something going on they'd get all prick eared and whinny. All 40+ of the cpws and the bull got out once and made their way to my otherside neighbor, who is one of those guys with acreage that treats it like a personal park, has a really nice landscaped home and did NOT appreciate pock marks and cow patties. They were very wary beef cattle, I tried the bucket method and they just looked at me, the Hereford in the lot was enormous, massive and almost as tall as a horse. Anyway the cattle guy lost his lease over that and the horses sot of moped around until we brought our horses and the pigs home. LOTS of stuff to look at there!

                    It's always nice to have your animals come to you, whether it's the bucket method or some other, much safer if they should get out.
                    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                    Incredible Invisible


                    • #11
                      That is a great story! My flock of turkeys was the same way. I think the farm animals have better "recall" than my dogs ever will. They love the "food lady" and "treat dude".
                      Disclaimer: Just a beginner who knows nothing about nothing


                      • #12
                        Don't think it will always happen that way! LOL!
                        "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."


                        • #13
                          ROFL, that is great! Around here, you can usually honk the horn, it appears to be the default bovine food alert.
                          Life doesn't have perfect footing.

                          Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
                          We Are Flying Solo


                          • #14
                            If you make a habit of rattling the buckets around and making some noise when you feed them, they'll come running too....even if they're a long ways off.


                            • #15
                              I raised baby calves years ago, and mine were halter broken! One day, they got out of the big field and went to visit the neighboring dairy farm. Haltered the heifer and she came right along, her buddy following her. Didn't want to try to lead two and them get frisky and tangled The also knew how to pick up their feet. I didn't have horses at the time....


                              • #16
                                I boarded once at a place that raised Black Angus. The cows lived in a huge field and didn't cause any trouble, but the heifers were in a smaller pasture and loved to break out -- and then would NOT want to go back in. I'd wake up and find them out with my horses, or out with the cows, or sometimes just OUT. Once I was tacking up my horse for a ride and I heard the kids shouting, "the heifers are out again!" So I brought my horse up from the barn and he got to play cow pony for a bit. He had no idea what we were doing, but he thought it was great fun, whatever it was! The heifers were not thrilled.

                                Sounds like your adventure was much easier to handle! Glad everyone is safe.
                                RIP Victor... I'll miss you, you big galumph.


                                • Original Poster

                                  Thankfully all the cattle where exactly where they were supposed to be this morning. I got treated to pitiful stares and bellows on how starved they were since they could not eat fresh spring grass to their content. (they have a half bale in the feeder). There is grass in their field of course but it's not as lush as my yard.

                                  They've certainly gotten in the habit of hunting me down this Spring if they see me out anywhere..more so than before. I took this picture a few days ago (sorry it's on Facebook) when they were helping me work in my garden. You can see what I have to put up with for pitiful starving stares.



                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Daydream Believer View Post
                                    Thankfully all the cattle where exactly where they were supposed to be this morning. I got treated to pitiful stares and bellows on how starved they were since they could not eat fresh spring grass to their content. (they have a half bale in the feeder). There is grass in their field of course but it's not as lush as my yard.

                                    They've certainly gotten in the habit of hunting me down this Spring if they see me out anywhere..more so than before. I took this picture a few days ago (sorry it's on Facebook) when they were helping me work in my garden. You can see what I have to put up with for pitiful starving stares.

                                    Please disregard the half ton animal behind the deep soulful eyes of this famished creature......

                                    They look beautiful.

                                    and delicious.


                                    • Original Poster

                                      Yes, quite yummy and obviously malnourished. Unfortunately I've made pets of the cows. The one on the back left is the "old cow" who I bought to slaughter for burger last Spring and she was pregnant by accident..so we let her calve and get bred back. She produced the "young bull" and looks to be back in a family way for a calf by summer. This will be her last calf and then she'll go to her original intended purpose. She was one of two that did not get out yesterday...was too busy eating to be bothered with an escape.


                                      • #20
                                        DD Believer, I love your photo. I loved our cows. I did feed one grass, and tried to feed the others grass. Only a couple were not afraid.

                                        My arab horses loved their cows. I swear my arabs were co-dependent with the cows. OMG what is going on over there, I hear mooing. When a cow moos, and I am riding dressage, it is HARD to keep my horses attention. It is like they are watching the movie, "The Truman Show." So much cow drama, and so much to watch, and listen to. ha ha. Then there are chickens. Busy all the time, lots to see there too.

                                        My rocky likes cows too, or rather she doesn't freak over them. We have ridden with cows and she is ok with them.

                                        How could a horse really be scared of a cow? Ha ha. Cows eat, pee, poop, moo, swish their tails at flies, and generally move slowly. Ok, every now and then they cut loose. Yes, I do know some horses are freaky.

                                        Cow penning is a good way to start a horse on cows. You will be in an arena, so not really like you will get too far if they freak, or dump you. You can take them to cow penning's and let them stay there tied. That way they get the smell of cows big time. Also go with a couple horses who know cows. Horses have to start somewhere knowing about cows.