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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Most Stressful Day

Well, so far anyway. Raising cattle is mostly a walk in the park nowadays. With a haybine to cut the hay, baler to roll up big round bales handled by front end loader a lot of the old manual labour has disappeared. Pretty much stress-free. Except for one day. The day I have to round them up and load them on the cattle trailer. I hate that job. Its a lot of running around lugging heavy steel gates, pails of chop, square bales and all the other little incidentals necessary to pen up the ones chosen to be sold.

I don't have a trailer so have to depend on a good neighbour to haul the cattle to market.

We planned for today, late afternoon. Those cattle must be mind readers, they all disappeared by mid morning wandering off into the stubble field out of sight. Still too muddy in the fields even to walk I tried the trike. The big fat tires carried got me out there without getting stuck (barely), and located the cattle. Bulls more interested in fighting than coming home so I left them and hoped for the best.

They always come home for chop (oats) late in the afternoon so by 5:00, a little later than planned, I had most of them penned in the shelter. All except one two year old heifer which was still out in the field somewhere. With little difficulty I was able to separate out the ones I wanted to keep and release, leaving the calves and the fighting bulls in the pen. I kept them well supplied with chop and hay to keep them occupied and not fighting each other while waiting for the truck to show up.

They mostly loaded pretty easy but that big black two year old bull was getting a little ornery after a couple of unsuccessful attempts to get him through the loading chute. He had never been a problem before but if an animal this big decides to go somewhere and you are in the way, well things could get ugly. I managed to get in front of him with a pail of chop and lure him into the trailer slamming the door shut just in time.

Its a relief to see the trailer load leave the yard. Prices for cattle are great now and if we are facing a dry summer with poor pasture it will be good to have a few less cattle to worry about.
This little red cow and calf along with a few others will be staying.

3 comments:

  1. I miss everything about cattle except stacking hay under a hot tin roof!

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  2. Loading the cattle in the truck was always the worst. I wondered if they somehow sense they headed for trouble? Perhaps it is in your body language or something like that. Most of them I hated to see go. There were always a few that I wanted to eat.

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  3. Gorges, its been a while since I had to stack bales in a hayloft on a summer day but I know what you mean.
    Budde, so true, some of those animals are hard to let go while others I just feel relief when they head off to market. Anyway, a smaller herd is one more step towards "the simple life".

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