Things are all under control now, but we had a not so fun experience with this calf last weekend. It was time get them out of their little pen inside and out on the green pasture. We worked on the fence for 2 days to get things fixed up for them. We had calves in that fence last year and they did fine with it. All we did was add a hot wire around the top and tighten up the rolled fencing. Three sides of the pasture are rolled cattle fence and one side is the horse fence (4 strands of high tensile hot wire).
We put the calves in the trailer and let them out in to the pasture. They ran around a bit and all was fine. We parked the trailer. Calf #09 promptly climbed between the strands of hot wire and went to visit the horses. I tried to corner him in the horse pasture so he went between the strands again and took a nice run around the yard. At this point we realized that neither of us had plugged the fence charger back in after our last minute repairs. Great.
Anyhow, we got darn lucky the first time. We were able to corner the calf in the yard - right next to the trailer! Here is where Brian impressed me... neither of us had a rope to catch him with so Brian got as close as he could and then tackled the calf. The calf is small but not that small. Brian just gave it a big bear hug around the neck and held on for dear life. I opened the trailer door and Brian drug him in! I was amazing, and we were pretty lucky that it worked.
So we plugged the fence in and let the calf out again. Bad idea. Again, straight through the fence and in with the horses. At this point we were both pretty ticked off as you can imagine. We had a lot of plans in mind for the day and calf roping was not a part of them. That time the calf stayed in with the horses. Brian grabbed a lasso and we started trying to corner him. We would almost get him cornered and then he would run off. We have a great cow horse, Rocky, so I saddled him up. The only problem was I couldn't ride him in the pasture because the other horses kept chasing us and I didn't want to get kicked (Rocky is not very dominant in the herd).
So picture me, Brian, and Rocky herding this cow around the pasture on foot. For an hour or more. Rocky was a big help really, I think he was much more intimidating them the two of us alone. When we finally got the calf cornered I pushed Rocky around so he was standing sideways, blocking about a 6' spot. Then Brian could rope the calf while I covered the other gaps.
Once the calf was caught, I'll be damned if we were going to let him go again. We compromised by putting a halter on him and securing him to a fence post on about 30' of rope, inside the pasture. That way he could still approach the fence and figure out that it was hot. About midweek I untied him from the post but left the rope on in case we had to catch him again. Last night I took it off completely. It seems to have worked (knock on wood) because he's still in today.
What started as a blog about the happenings here on our Centennial Farm has now evolved in to a little more personal account of things from my point of view as a new farm(er's) wife. Stick around for awhile and hopefully you'll learn a little about everything from industrial and sustainable farming to raising livestock to being green and maybe even catch a good recipe or two. Enjoy!
We're on our way out of debt and on to greener pastures...