Monday we moved the cow herd to fresh pasture. We left a bull behind in the old pasture, because he was off by himself a long way from the herd. We figured we’d get a chance at some point, to snag him. Tuesday we decided to see if we could grab him, while we were out (we needed to move a few cows and their calved out of the alfalfa pasture they’d managed to sneak in to).
How do you move a lone bull out of the pasture? What do you need to do this?
1. A trailer
2. A fence
3. At least one person horseback (I reckon two is better)
5. A place for them to go.
See, people generally think that bovines are stupid. They’re not really, they just don’t have an intel celeron processor for a brain (i.e. they can be slow). But regardless, they just want a place to go. They want to flow away from the pressure we’re putting on them.
Zach backed the trailer up to the fence, close enough such that when we opened the back door, it fit perfectly up against the fence. Then it was time to go capture him. Riding up to the bull is the easy part. Then it’s a matter of shaping his movement. If he tracks off in a direction we don’t want him to go, we ride to his shoulder until he changes direction (if we need him to go left, we ride to the right shoulder and vice versa). Then you back off. We got him all the way to the fence line- about 50 yards north of the trailer. At this point he decided he’d had enough of the nonsense and laid down. Bull will often do this if they get hot, bothered or otherwise irritable. Zach had to spank him with the end of his rope to get him to get up.
He began tracking down the fence again, and we got him right close to the trailer, but he darted, the horse ducked, and he got away, though Zach and Dozer were hot on his heels.
They got him back on track, we set it up again, and just like that! Success! The young bull loaded up and we got to take him to the pasture with the cows.
Some of you by now are wondering, I’m sure, how it is that a bull ends up by himself. It’s simple really. He got pushed off, or basically lost enough fights that the other bulls ran him away and in essence said, “you’re not worthy to be here”. Poor guy. Testosterone must be rough!
I love moving cows/bulls because it gives my horses something else to do- in this instance, we’d like to keep everything slow, so it gives me a chance to practice a creepy-crawly walk on my horses. I was riding Gump this day, and we need to work on that. This gives a meaning and a purpose to going s.l.o.w.
We had originally set out to move the cows that were in the alfalfa field that day; that job didn’t get done because we couldn’t find them. I got that done yesterday, but that’s a blog for another time. Maybe I’ll write about it later today. For now I’m debating about what to do.
The wind is howling outside. Literally howling. It’s about 60 degrees with a 20mph wind from the NW. The saddle horses are out- meaning Gump and Dino and Jack and Dozer and the rest of the crew that we ride/train daily are in the pasture. The four-wheeler has been broken for the past week, which means we have to catch a stallion or a pretty gray mare and go ride through the pasture to bring them back. I’m not particularly inclined to do that today. There are 3 colts that we are riding for some other folks up by the barn, so Zach is going to ride them today. I’m contemplating catching up on laundry, or reading my newest book “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee”.
I don’t know what I’ll do yet.