For anyone who missed part one of our Cow (mis)Adventures you can find the post here.
I ended the first post with three cows laying around by the pond. Three cows that normally can hear a grain bucket rattling from a mile away laid there staring at me as I shook a grain bucket about six inches from them. I continued to stand there and shake the grain bucket with more and more
enthusiasm desperation. I was the very definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over while hoping for a different result.
Jason came driving up in the truck and took the scene in for a few moments. I kept shaking the grain bucket. The cows kept laying there.
Jason decided to take matters into his own hands and got out of the truck. He walked up to one of them and got right up in her face and started clapping his hands and telling her to get up. She did finally get up.
And immediately began hustling off in the exact opposite direction of where we needed her to go. Of course the other two cows immediately sprang up and followed her lead. Suddenly they were full of pep and energy and we stood there watching them hoof it with enthusiasm farther and farther away from where we needed them to be.
I glared at Jason. He held his hands out in front of him and said “I never dreamed they would go in that direction.”
lectured yelled at Jason for a moment about how he should always, always, always follow my directions when it comes to the cows. He did have the good sense to agree with me that when it comes to cow handling my skills are superior to his.
I hiked further out into the pastures and approached the cows again. This time I dumped some feed on the ground. The cows stared at me suspiciously for a few minutes. Then they stepped forward a few feet and began to eat. I moved forward a few feet and repeated the procedure. We began slowly and painfully inching our way across the farm a few feet at a time.
After a few rounds of eating feed off the ground one of them began eating out of the bucket as I held it. This was more like it and our progress sped up a little. I
ordered kindly asked Jason to drive to the alley and close all of the gates that went in and out of it except for the entrance.
As Jason drove off suddenly the pet cows forgot about their shyness and they all three wanted to come right up to me for grain. I started walking faster and faster, then moved on to a run, and finally a sprint while holding the bucket behind me as I headed for the alley with three cows barreling along with me.
I must have made quite a sight sprinting through the pasture with three cows as Jason was watching me instead of following my directions. I screamed at Jason to stop staring and get the gates shut now. A few moments later I sprinted into the alley just barely keeping ahead of the three cows. Once we were in I threw the bucket down on the ground and pole vaulted over the fence without the help of a pole. Jason shut the gates at the end of the alley and I stood there gasping for air.
After I took a minute to recover Jason and I walked behind the cows shooing them down the alley. Once we got close to the cattle corral I began putting feed on the ground again, inching them closer and closer to the first part of the loading chute. Amazingly we got them in the first part of the chute and shut in with minimal effort.
I began moving them ahead with little piles of feed, and before they knew what was happening we had them shut into the second half of the chute. There was nowhere for them to go but on the trailer now. After a few minutes of drama the one we were most worried about loading hopped onto the stock trailer. Jason slammed the center divider in the stock trailer shut and she was on.
Now we just needed to load the two “easy” ones. We kept them shooing them forward but they would walk right to the edge of the trailer and stop. Then they would back up to the gate and we should shoo them forward again. We repeated this scenario a few dozen times. The two cows were starting to get really agitated and were seriously considering trying to jump out of the chute. They watched me pouring feed into the trailer but they didn’t care, they weren’t going in there.
Jason and I decided we would stop trying to force the issue and wait them out, or at least get them calmed down enough to stop thinking about trying to go over the walls of the chute.
Five minutes passed.
Ten minutes passed.
Twenty minutes passed.
Thirty minutes passed.
I asked Jason if he wanted to go get lunch or something. He said he was worried they might try to do something really stupid while we were gone. So we kept waiting and watching and waiting and watching.
Ten more minutes passed.
Twenty minutes passed.
Thirty minutes passed.
Forty minutes passed.
The two cows kept going forward and back, forward and back, in the 10 foot chute. Poor
little fat Apple was so nervous and scared her sides went in and out and in and out as she breathed rapidly. Both of them pooped and peed so many times I was amazed there was any urine or fecal matter left in them. Yet it kept coming out.
Ten more minutes passed. Jason and I both picked up sticks and decided we were going to try and drive them in one last time. Both of the cows stood at the edge of the trailer refusing to get on. They could have cared less about us yelling and waving sticks and making a fuss. One of them squirted out more manure and somehow Jason wound up with it all over his hands.
I said to him “why don’t you walk to the house and wash your hands and I’ll wait here.”
Jason said “I think we should consider giving up soon. They are both terrified, Apple especially, and they’ve been refusing to get on the trailer for almost two hours.”
Just then we heard some movement and suddenly Apple loaded herself onto the trailer. Apparently this made Jason snap because he began acting like he was possessed by a demon and scared the red cow so badly she literally launched herself like a rocket into the trailer. We slammed the door shut.
We both leaned against the trailer panting like we had just sprinted to the finish line of a marathon. As we leaned against our rocking trailer we discussed the fact that it wasn’t loaded correctly. One cow was in the front half and two in the back half and it should be the opposite. We decided we were just going to drive slowly and have my mother follow us. It was really the only option we had.
I happy to report that the cows, the truck, the trailer and ourselves made it to our farm with no further drama or trouble. We drove right into the pasture and opened the door of the trailer. The cows unloaded themselves and began slowly walking around to check things out.
The horses in the three pastures that could see the cows proceeded to practice their dramatic acting skills. They stared, they ran off, they came back and stared some more, they ran off. The horses finally tired of it after awhile and went back to their usual activities.