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The hurdler turned hamburger turned escapee...

So, as a follow up post to Jon's about the livestock-go-round, I thought I would talk about the other night.  As you may or may not know, I'm nine months pregnant.  And yesterday was my due date.  We really thought that I might actually go into labor yesterday due to the events that took place the night before...

The escapee/hurdler cow, who I neglected to take a picture of, had been penned up for a couple days in our corral.  And let me tell you, my heart hurt for the poor old gal.  She bawled and bawled for her calf, which we had tried to get to come to her.  Neither Jon nor I cared if they were together, but we just couldn't get him to come to her.  He is just too skittish.  So, we had to listen to her bawl for about a day and a half, in which time I hadn't been sleeping the best.  Not only did I have to listen to her bawl during the day, I had to listen to her bawl during the night.  And as someone who's about to give birth to her first child, it was all I could do not to go out there and let her out so she could find her baby.  She just wanted her baby!

But life on a farm requires some tough decisions and we were both confident that the best decision was to get rid of her and turn her into hamburger.  She was not only hurdling four foot high barb wire fences, but she was starting to take the herd with her.  Not cool...  So, she stayed penned up in our corral and I tried not to listen to her bawling.

We came home around five two days ago and Jon started to do chores.  Max was starting to bark as if something was in the farmyard.  And it was...the whole darn herd!  Somehow the calf had found his mother, taking ALL the calves and some cows with him.  And darned if they weren't just hanging out in the farmyard and around the house.  Thankfully Jon had taken the Low-Stress Animal Handling class and they were pretty well trained to go where Jon wanted them to go.  Except for that dang calf!  He wanted in with his mother, she wanted out with him and we COULD NOT get them in together.  Keep in mind, it's also getting dark and very cold.  There is nothing more infuriating than working with an animal who is skittish.  They are just very unpredictable.  I also vowed right then and there that I am going to learn how to rope if it kills me.  Never mind how the heck I thought I would be able to drag a 5 month old bull calf into a corral...

Jon sent me into the house to warm up, while he chased the cows that had now wandered over to the east side of our property that doesn't have fencing.  We tried one more time to get them together and said screw it.  It was dark, cold and I was one day away from my due date...not exactly the best helper in the world!  Now mama and baby were reunited, but we still had to get them back into a fenced area.  Again, so glad Jon took that class, because he was able to get them through a gate they had never been through before and it was dark.  I was pretty impressed.  My job was to bring up the rear and keep the strays from getting too far.  Did I mention I was carrying a sledgehammer the whole time and two flashlights?  We needed to break water for the cattle and I apparently didn't think to drop the sledgehammer and at least one of the flashlights.

Finally Jon got them were they needed to go and I breathed a huge sigh of relief.  There is nothing more stressful than having animals out, especially at night and in the winter.  Remember what happened when we first got the cattle?  We have learned so much since then and I credit Jon's working with the cattle and the techniques he learned in the Low-Stress Animal handling class to making this night go a little smoother.  And we were able to make it into town for our "Last Supper".  I had been craving steak and one last nice supper before the baby got here was just what I wanted.  Thanks for the delicious steak Mistys!

How I haven't had this baby yet is beyond me...  One would have thought that being nine months pregnant, chasing cows in the dark, while carrying a sledgehammer would have put me into labor.  I'm still patiently waiting!

Oh and by the way, the hurdler cow will still be turned into hamburger.  Now we just need to catch her again....

Lisa  – (December 10, 2011 at 6:33 AM)  

That class has come in handy more than once. It's a very good thing that you took it. Way to go Jon!!!! It is a wonder you haven't gone into hard labor yet Jamie.

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