Monday, September 14, 2009

Bovine Time!!

Does a person have to formally introduce others to a cow??

I`m not sure if Miss Manners has any advice on human/bovine introductions to impart or not, but I would hate to be remiss in my blog hostess duties. So…..

Everyone, this is Patty. Patty, this is everyone!

(He`s thrilled to meet you despite his lackadaisical appearance.)

Patty, (or Saint Patrick of Moo as we address his herefordness ) is quite the addition to our hillside farm. I thought I would relay how he came to be here amid the goats that may have him quite confused as to exactly what he is I fear.

It all began on St. Patrick`s day of this year when we received a call from one of our neighbors. Not that a call from your neighbor`s is unusual, for we rural folks are a pretty tightly-knitted lot and like to keep abreast of the current goings on in our small community. Oh okay, I`m just nosey and like to talk! There! The truth is out!!

This call though held no new gossip (Dern it!) but it did bring us the offer of a free calf, if we wanted him. Needless to say we leaped on the offer! Beef bull calves tend to be rather pricey as opposed to dairy bull calves which just don` t bulk up with the speed that any animal bred for meat does. Meat and dairy goats are very similar in their growth ratio also. (On a quick side, I`m hoping to bring you an entry dealing with meat goats friends of ours raise in the future so keep your fingers crossed!)

We made the quick ride up our bumpy dirt road, pulled up next to the large red barn that sits beside the Y in the lane and hurried to pick our calf. Since both red calves looked very similar in appearance it was pretty much a coin toss so we let our daughter have the final decision. Once her choice was made we left after some general male shooting of the breeze between hubby and Mister L. we`ll call him. (And they say women talk a lot. Hmphf!) Both men have been friends for close to thirty years and Mister L. lives down from us about a quarter of a mile . Like I said, we`re a close little group of Ridgerunner’s and everyone knows everyone else.

A few days passed while Patty stayed with his mother to enjoy that all necessary colostrum and be turned from a bull into a steer. (Ye-Ouch!) We hurried to convert our pig barn (Yup we`ve raised swine as well!) into a cool pad for a cow and soon-to-be goat buddies. The goat kids were coming and Patty would need companionship. No herd animal does well when left alone. There was quite a bit to do! Buy half gallon calf bottles and a bag of milk replacer, calf starter grain, build hay mangers and a grain box for the little fellow and the goat boys but after much headless chicken-type running about we were ready! Bring on the beefer!!

Upon returning that afternoon to our neighbor`s farm it fell to my husband and our older neighbors right-hand man Mister L. to catch Patrick. Not an easy feat since both calves were a couple days old and were VERY quick and agile! Add in one HIGHLY disgruntled and over-protective mother and I`m sure you can picture the floorshow that occurred! There were fancy foot moves that put Micheal Flatley to shame. Eventually the calf was caught and Mr. Yodeling carried the doe-eyed boy out of the enclosure, sweaty and filthy and puffing like a steam engine.

Now this young man of the bovine persuasion presented us with a problem. Usually when we purchase a goat kid we simply lay a towel over our thighs and hold the youngster on our lap for the ride home. This bruiser was most definitely NOT a lap rider so my clever hubby and Mister L. came up with a solution that worked amazingly well!

We slid Patty into a soft burlap feed sack, rump first allowing his head to remain out, then I drove home as Mr. Yodeling Goatherder rode in the back of the truck with Patty held tightly in his arms. Only in rural settings would you pass a man and a Hereford calf in a feed sack riding with the wind in their hair and not find it an unusual sight!

Thankfully for Mr. Yodeling the ride is a short one and within minutes we were placing the polled calf into his new digs. The only obstacle we encountered was in the switch from his mother to a rubber nipple. Patty would roll that red rubber imposter around with a sour face and then spit it out as if to say ‘Puh-lease, do I look THAT easily fooled?’ Time and an empty belly soon proved to be our ally for after a day or two that bull-headed bovine decided that even if it was a poor imitation it was better than nothing. Within no time he was up to a gallon a day of milk and growing like the proverbial weed!

Now fall is heading our way and that tiny baby is estimated to weigh well over four hundred pounds and is still packing it on! He`s been a joy to raise so far and has opened a new appreciation for us for how pleasant and entertaining a bovine can truly be!

Oops, looks like time for social amenities is over since I can hear the massive momma`s boy looking for his morning grain, as can the entire valley!


houndstooth said...

I can just picture that scene! Lord of the Cow Patties! I'll buy tickets if that show ever comes here!

Feral Female said...

*Snort* We`ll add your name to the reserved ticket list gal!