But they ran out of pasture and busted down a gate to an area they should not have had access to because it is not cow fenced. Indeed they ruined three sections of fence, which the farmer has to fix and replace out of his own pocket. They also were on the highway this morning. Travis went to Elk Point and on his way back saw that the cows were on the side of the highway in the boulevard area. They had broken the old barbed wire and simply walked or jumped over the remainder of the fence. About 7 cows were on the highway side and were ambling closer to the vehicles. They were after the grass in the ditch area. Hungry big cows are hard to stop. They would push down a fence or break the barbed wire to find food. Their hides are tough and though they don't like getting pricked by the barbs, the lure of the food on the other side is greater than the short lived pain.
There are 18 huge cows with calves. The calves have grown tremendously this summer and are half the size of those big cows, so they have been eating a lot as well as having their mother's milk. It is quite odd to see such a large calf bunt his mother's udder and stoop low to drink. The bull arrived a week or so after the cows. There was not supposed to be a bull. The cows were supposed to arrive bred. That was written in the ad, but the farmer did not read that far. He just read the headline really. So, along came the bull. The cows busted a small section of the fence and my bull went out with his herd, where he has been all summer. It is not too late to put him in with my two cows, though I am pretty sure Shona is already bred. Unfortunately, it will be a winter calf most likely, since the bull and Shona were together from March to June and gestation is 9 months.
I have not had good luck renting the pasture. The first farmer could not afford to pay for the board and after a lot of bantering back and forth, he consented to give me a heifer calf in lieu of the money owed. Last year's farmer took my Jersey cow home to breed her and stuck her in with his cows. She was not a fed grain and I told him not to give her any, but he turned her out with his herd and she ate herself to death, bloated and died. He refused to replace her so I lost 3200 dollars. This year, the farmer did not check on his cows and was depending on me to watch them. That is not part of the agreement and when he rented the pasture, I specifically asked him to keep an eye on the cows. I saw him once since June. Now the brand new fences are down and broken. I am sure hoping he will repair and replace them. They cost thousands of dollars with materials and labour.
I drove the truck up the highway and herded the cows back to the rest of the group who were thinking about crossing the fence too. The wayward cows jumped back in and I ran down the pasture like a mad woman shouting and waving my hands and making strange loud sounds, chasing them away from the fence. Then something magic sort of happened.
The cows came to the house and crowded the fence line. I had already made my mind up to give them a bale of green feed and they knew instinctively and were waiting. I brought the bale with the skid steer and removed the twines as they watched, then tossed the bale over the fence. They munched gratefully. Later when I walked the fence lines, I saw that they had not gone to the east side at all.There is a very steep hill to climb on the north side and I guess they did not want to go up it. Their tracks go to the creek and then are no more. Heck, if they were going to bust fences, they at least could have availed themselves of all the grass before going on the highway!
I called the farmer and he came with two more bales. I told him he had to either take the cows away or fix the fence. He said he was really busy, but I gave him the look and he said he would come back and get it done today. I did not check to see if he did, but the cows are worth a great deal of money, so one would think he would care enough to do so. I had to use the skid steer to unload the bales and later to remove the panels he brought to fence the cows in an area when he takes them home, hopefully tomorrow. I would not rent the pasture if I did not have to, but 19 dollars a day adds up over 5 months. Maybe next year it will be better, sigh.