Thursday, October 29, 2009


Around the middle of yesterday morning, just as I was finishing up some county Farm Bureau paperwork in my farm office, my phone rang. "Someone stopped by and said we have cows in the road on the other side of the creek," said my father on the other end. "We're heading that way, meet us over there."

So I hopped into my truck and made the quarter-mile westward journey. I went down one hill and as I climbed the next (the "creek" runs between them) I saw a group of dry cows standing in and along the road. Dad and our employees were only about a minute ahead of me but already had the situation under control. I helped them get the cows back into the pasture and reattach the latch to the gatepost.

I know this isn't much of a's not like we had to chase after them in the dark or the rain. No, putting them back in their pasture wasn't the interesting part, but how they got out in the first place.

We currently are pasturing dry cows north of the road and heifers on the southern side, with nothing but a two-lane blacktop and right-of-way separating the two. My theory is that an animal in one pasture started mooing at another across the road. This probably went on for a few minutes until one of the two mooed across something that must have been interpreted as an insult or a taunt. At that point, it became group warfare. More and more animals from each pasture began lining up at their gate and along the fence line, getting as close as they could to hurl their moos at the other group across the road. At some point the dry cows finally had enough of these upstart heifers and decided it was time for a little less moo and a lot more action. They used their weight advantage to put enough pressure on the gate that the latch pulled loose from the post. Once the gate swung open, they "bull rushed" the heifers in the pasture on the other side of the road.

Luckily a passing motorist came through immediately after the cows broke free and was able to inform us before the cows forced open the heifers gate and invaded their pasture. Had that happened, I expect the heifers would have taken a pretty good whoopin'. It also would have meant we would have had to drive them all to our working pen and sort them back out. As luck would have it though, we were able to step in and stop the showdown between the dry cows and heifers before it went to far.

Is this the real reason the dry cows were out? I dunno, like I said it's just my theory. But it's a good one, don't you think?

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