Notes from Windward: #63

Cows in the Hay Barn

Dealing with Wayward Cattle

Terry writes:

     When I heard the sounds of mooing and trampling I knew it had happened again.

     Somebody (it's not hunting season, maybe it was a camper?) left our neighbor's gate open - again - and the cattle escaped - again - and some of them are in the hay barn - again.

     This time there were five of them, big huge handsome black Angus, four cows and a steer (maybe we should invite the steer to stay for dinner?), decorated with green and yellow ear tags. Three of the cows had effortlessly run over the waist high front panels of the hay barn and were busily rearranging the contents. These three animals were so big they almost filled the barn completely. While their two companions reached over the seven foot tall side panels to munch on nearby hay bales, they made kindling out of the floor pallets, sampled the straw and hay, and began converting the stacked bales into a shambles.

     Gina and I caught them in the act. I had just let the sheep out to graze and I had my staff in my hands. I ran into the barn and began yelling at the cows and whacking them on the rear with my staff. Of course they barely felt it, but it did get their attention. After giving me a YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDIN' PEEWEE look, the cows got the idea and slowly ambled out of the barn. I continued whacking, yelling at and chasing the three cows, and their companions, until they were across the road and heading off site.

     Gina said that she thought that going after those big animals in that way was an act of courage since they could very easily have refused to leave and decided to trample us. I don't think it was courage. I think it was just being peed off enough to exhibit the attitude of a Chihuahua.

     Knowing that the cows would be back when the coast was clear, Gina and I replaced the trampled waist high front panel with a tall panel and moved all the hay bales below fence level. Hoping that this would be enough, we left to complete our interrupted day.

     As predicted, the cows returned after dark. They didn't get into the hay barn. What they did do, before I herded them off with a flash light beam, was trample the pallets enclosing one our baby plum trees, strip off some of the leaves and eat one of our first two plums.