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Way OT - Cow stories for Dan'l and all the other cow chasers


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#1 camdigger ONLINE  

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Posted September 03, 2015 - 02:30 AM

All Dan's stories about cows has reminded me of a few from my youth, about halfway between the open range days and today....

My folks had a small herd of crossbreed cows running with a Black Angus bull. The next door neighbours had a herd of commercial grade Herefords. Looking to upgrade, they invested in two imported prize winning Charolais Bulls ( Off -white in Colorado - pay attention color matters).

There is always a discussion between neighbours with cows as the Bulls always seem to be looking over the fence for romance. Beef Bulls will fight daily until they establish a pecking order. The new white Bulls were the talk of the neighbourhood. As people sometimes do, they chose up sides as the discussion evolved. Just before time to turn out to pasture, the neighbour laughed about us getting a bunch of white calves next year and how high the stud fees might be.

The seemingly inevitable happened about a week later. We got a panicked phone call that the two white Bulls had been fighting across the fence with our black one. The neighbour told Dad to come rescue that little black SOB before his bigger meaner white ones killed him. We bolted our supper down and raced to the scene in the old farm pickup.

No one was prepared for what we saw. The Bulls had indeed been fighting. The dumb beasts had done most of it along the fence. There was over 100 yards of barb wire fence down with wires broken and every wooden post on the ground. We went hunting Bulls? The little black one was easy to find. He was on top of the highest hill in the neighbours pasture. Pawing dirt clods and slinging snot and bellowing to wake the dead. We never glimpsed either of the white ones, but there was a bunch of crashing around in the willows at the base of the hills.

The old farm pickup we had had a spare tire carrier on the front. Not wanting to tangle with Blackie while his blood was up, Dad planted the spare tire under Blackies tail and headed for home. I don't think his back feet touch the ground for over a quarter mile. We spent the next day untangling and rebuilding the fence.

The next spring at calving time, the neighbour had a rainbow crop. Red Hereford crosses, blond white faces, and several black ones......... We had all black calves. Go figure.
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#2 camdigger ONLINE  

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Posted September 05, 2015 - 03:47 AM

Hmmm, over 100 views and over a dozen thank your, but not a single reply. Guess I won't bother with the other tales....

#3 KennyP ONLINE  

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Posted September 05, 2015 - 05:39 AM

Hmmm, over 100 views and over a dozen thank your, but not a single reply. Guess I won't bother with the other tales....

It's sometimes like that. Cool story, though. Cows can be a real pain at times!



#4 LilysDad ONLINE  

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Posted September 05, 2015 - 06:08 AM

It was a great story! Anything I would add would just take away from it. Please tell more.



#5 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted September 05, 2015 - 06:35 AM

We had a few "mentionable" cows.
One we nicknamed Twinkle toes.

She could kick you thru the bars of the grooming chute with you standing by her front shoulders. Expert in the art of double or triple tapping before you could get moving, She was actually pretty dangerous.
One time, I was trying to coax her into the show ring... Dad forgot who I was leading and came in behind an slapped both cheeks at the same time.
She put a hoof over each shoulder so close to his head he said he heard the air .
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#6 olcowhand ONLINE  

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Posted September 05, 2015 - 06:36 AM

Well I enjoyed it Cam! I got sidetracked before I replied. Bulls sure can be dangerous, even if you're in a truck should they decide to turn!
More stories please!
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#7 camdigger ONLINE  

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Posted September 05, 2015 - 12:30 PM

Since Dan'l mentioned trucks, I'll tell this one.....

 

One of the benefits of raising food is that you get first pick of the crop or herd for your own table should you so desire.  Another advantage is that as far as the tax man goes, the animal died of lead poisoning.  A little more focussed than usual, but still lead poisoning.  Around our place, that meant butchering, aging, cutting, wrapping, and freezing right on the farm.  At one time, when there were several struggling newlyweds and fresh retirees in our extended family, there were 5 or 6 animals succumbed to lead poisoning every year.  We got so we could hang 2 critters a day and cut, wrap, and freeze 3 animals in a long day with enough hands.

 

Other cattlemen in the area did not have the skills or desire to do this, for whatever reason.  For a long while, the only other option was a local butcher shop that would do custom butchering.  Because they were the only shop around doing it and having to keep the government inspectors happy, it was necessary to book the animals in well in advance on specific days of the week. 

 

One early fall morning on the hiway just outside our front gate, a distant neighbor had an incident on the way to the shop.  They had loaded their pick for a candidate to fill the freezer for the winter in the back of the farm pickup and headed off to make the appointment.  Their choice was a full grown +/- 2000 lb horned Charolais steer.  The pickup had farm built racks made of 1" x 6" boards spaced 6" apart with stakes into the 3 stake holes on the side of the box.  No one will ever know exactly why, but that big steer went nuts in the back of the truck.  He used the racks as a ladder to crawl up and nearly tip the truck over.  Finally, the racks disintegrated into kindling and the big beast scrambled over the side of the truck onto the hiway.  The crazed steer was hurt, mad, and disoriented as the scenery had completely changed in the 45 minutes he'd spent cooped up in his little mobile pen.

 

The timing was such that Dad had just finished the morning milking and turn the cows out of the 22 stanchion barn into the night holding area.  Our milk cows were milling around the stock tank for a last drink before heading out onto the 100 acre pasture for the day.  The steer spied the milk cows and headed over to seek solace from some fellow bovines.  The driver of the pickup (and the owner of the steer), parked the truck and set off in pursuit of his winter's meat.  The guy got together with Dad, and between the two of them, they got the steer in with the cows and the gate closed.  Now what?

 

Well, Dad had grown up in the very last years of open range grazing in the area and had grown up around cow, horses, and cowboys.  He was a decent hand with a rope, a good rider, and in his youth, an excellent athlete.  Dad had used a rope to handle animals of all sizes for what ever reason for years, be it neutering and branding, innoculations, medicating for hoof rot, pinkeye, extra persuasion when loading (more about that another time), or anything else.  He got his next to new lariat and proceeded to rope the big white devil.  Dad underestimated how PO'd the big steer was and was not used to roping horned animals.  He got the rope on the steer, but only around the horn base, not around the neck.  Bear in mind that oxen often tow astonishing loads with yokes fastened to their horns in one way or another.  Needless to say, dad was over matched and didn't manage to get a dally around any posts before he ran out of rope.  The big steer realizing that there was no solace to be found there then took off like a deer for the low land dragging Dad's prized lariat.

 

A couple days later, the steers owner showed up with a couple friends and 3 horses to catch the fugitive.  They combed the 100 acres all day.  I heard later, they saw him.  Once.  Briefly.  At a distance.

 

One might ask how you lose a 2000# white animal in a world of fall leaves, brown grass, and a little left over green, but you must be aware that of the 100 acres, there were 40 acres of native poplar in half a dozen patches, 40 acres of native prairie grass, and 20 acres of swampy mosquito pasture covered by diamond willows so thick the visibility is less than 20' and so tight a horse and rider can't get through it.  No none in their right mind would go in there after a dangerous animal on foot.  Some places so soft that a horse's footfall makes treetops 25' away shake.  If the sod is ever broken, you can probe down 20' into the slop underneath without resistance.  Needless to say, they gave up the search, but not before leaving a brand new lariat on the doorstep of the house.

 

About a week later, the steer came home with the milk cows one night, minus the rope.  After the evening milking, we managed to lure the big devil into the barn with copious quantities of the ground grain mix we fed the milk cows.  We nailed the barn doors shut and called the steer's owner.  He called the local livestock transporter.  The steer's owner and Dad cobbled up a loading chute in front of the barn door and between Dad, the steer's owner, and the truck driver (with his cattle prod), got the steer loaded in the truck.  The truck in question was a Louisville Ford with a 20' long, 4' high Grainmaster steel box with 2' steel racks above that, but no roof.  Last I saw of them as I got on the school bus was that the driver had to stop after just pulling out of the driveway and climb the side of the box to shock the big steer on the nose as the big so'n'so had his head and one front leg over the top of the racks and the other front foot stuck through the rack over the box.  After a couple more shots to the nose, the steer gave up trying to crawl over the side.  Having missed the appointment at the butchers and because the steer had been riled up for most of 10 days so the adrenaline had likely spoiled the meat anyway, the big steer was sent to the stockyards in Cowtown where they have a daily sale.  No idea whether they made it or not.  The big white devil was off our place, never to return.


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#8 olcowhand ONLINE  

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Posted September 05, 2015 - 01:02 PM

Thanks Cam, great story. Was the lariat ever found? When I was not quite a teenager, dad bought 3 large heifers and attempted bringing them home in his pickup with similar racks. He went maybe 50 yards and through the racks the 3 spilled into the ditch. People at the sale helped round them up fast. Dad hired a guy at the sale to haul them home in a trailer. I was at school when it happened.
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#9 massey driver OFFLINE  

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Posted September 05, 2015 - 01:26 PM

I can just imagine all the comical and not comical times you must have seen and heard about with having been around livestock all the time. Animals are sure different and each have there own personality. We had a cow that was raised from a calf and when she was older and of milking age, if you didn't get out to the pasture to let her come home she'd be by the barn at milking time. Not sure how she made it over the two fences without any scrapes or cuts on her udder etc: We also had another cow raise from a calf that when you'd be milking her she'd lick you to death. Having been around sheep, goats ,horses etc: some where nice and gentle others were down right mean. You always had to be wary,because you just never knew when something could happen. BTW cool stories.


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#10 camdigger ONLINE  

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Posted September 05, 2015 - 01:34 PM

Dan'l
We chased milk cows over that land dialy 7 months a year for another 10 years with no sign of the missing rope. I think the steer rubbed it of in the willows somewhere. Wouldn't be anything left of it except the metal Hondo now, it was one of the last natural fibre ropes we could find. Most are man made fibre now.
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#11 KennyP ONLINE  

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Posted September 05, 2015 - 04:20 PM

Great story and well told!



#12 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted September 05, 2015 - 11:04 PM

El Diablo Blanco
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#13 adamjd200 ONLINE  

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Posted September 07, 2015 - 08:42 PM

I got a pretty good one, me, my dad, and a local hauler were loading a cow onto a 16' gooseneck cattle trailer.  To understand the following story you must understand how our barn is set up, half is the cow pens and the other half contains 6 box stalls with an alley way (3 stalls on each side), when we load cattle we load them through a gate into the alley way (remember this for later) out the sliding door at the end of the barn.  We got the cow half way down the alley when she decided she was going back to the stable and no one was going to stop her.  My dad was standing in the middle of the gate opening and couldn't get out of the way fast enough, he ended up on his back in the manure and she went right over top of him without even touching him, he got up and we got her on the trailer, my dad took a shower and went to work, when he came  home we went to the auction to watch her sell and pick up the check, thankfully all in one piece.


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#14 camdigger ONLINE  

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Posted September 08, 2015 - 10:39 AM

This one involves my brother.  I was not directly involved, but he and his wife told me about this.  I have seen the aftermath for myself.

 

My parents insisted that all their kids would leave home and spend some time away from the farm and the neighborhood.  If we wanted to come back after a time, we would then discuss terms with Mom and Dad.  My brother and I both wanted to move back onto the family farm but, my brother beat me back to the farm by nearly two years.  My dad and older brother split the original farm and made do.

 

In the age of 20%+ interest rates, it didn't make sense to start up on my own, so I indefinitely postponed my move back to farm life. 

 

My older brother started his operation on a shoe string.  He and his wife both worked full time off the farm and bought equipment and cows as funds allowed.  After 10 years, he had a reasonable herd of purebred Black Angus and made extensive use of AI to improve bloodlines to the point where he was selling purebred bulls.  He was raising and selling about 10 to 15 - 2 year old bulls a year.  There is a significant premium for halter broke bulls.  Makes them easier to handle if they are halter broke.  However, because of his busy schedule, not all his bulls were as well trained as others...

 

The bulls sold best at producer cooperative sales.  These sales happen usually either in the late fall or early spring.  The idea is small producers haul their bulls to a local stockyard on a specific day and if the bulls don't sell, the sellers haul the animals home and try again by private treaty or the next sale.

 

So much for the background.  The real story goes that there was a bull sale in a town about 2 hours by truck away from the farm.  The bull sale was on a fall day when his 3 kids were at school and his wife had to work, so he was on his own to get the bulls loaded and to the sale on time. The bulls for sale were run into a set of corrals the night before ready to be loaded into the stock trailer for transport to the sale after all the other chores were done the next morning.  All was going well the morning of the sale until one bull balked and refused to go up the chute to the trailer.  The trailer had a gate dividing the front compartment from the back.  Big Bro slammed the gate inside the trailer closed so the animals already in there stayed loaded before turning his attention to the balky bull. 

 

No amount of poking, prodding, or other means of persuasion at hand would make the bull get in the trailer.  Now short of time, Big Bro borrowed a lesson from Dad and dropped a rope around the balky bull's neck and ran the rope into the trailer, around an upright in the trailer, and back out down the side of the chute.   The idea being to put some traction on the rope, and be able to apply a little persuasion from behind.  The basic method of control was to put a couple of wraps around the top of a convenient post on the side of the chute and have a hand free to apply persuasion from behind.  This was working until the animal moved up the chute until it was out of reach of effective persuasion.  This meant moving up to another post closer to the action.  A vigorous persuasion was applied.  The bull jumped ahead a couple feet, and Big Bro hastily unwrapped the rope from one post and rushed up to wrap the rope around the next post.  He got one of the 3 wraps he needed put on before the bull realized the rope was slack, and slammed to the end of the rope.  Big Bro was in the act of putting the second wrap around the next post when the 1500 lb bull hit the end of the rope trapping the thumb of his right hand under the wrap of rope.  Faster than it can be told or imagined, the end of his thumb disappeared.  He tied the rope off and went to the house to dress his wound.  He went back out and looked around the corral for his missing thumb without finding it.  Being short of cash and suddenly not all that fond of the bull in question, he managed to get the bull loaded and headed for the sale.  Shock and adrenaline being what they are, he was halfway to the sale before his thumb stub started to hurt.  He got to the sale where the staff unloaded and accepted his animals.  The nasty part was he had to hang around all day for the sale to be over before he could leave. 

 

Incredibly, the rank bull did not sell although all the others did.  The stockyard staff helped him load the bull back in the trailer hand he set off for home.  Now his adrenaline had worn off, as had the shock, and the bottle of Tylenol he stole from the house wasn't taking the edge off anymore.  When he finally got home, he drove out in the middle of the closest pasture to the buildings, parked the truck, and threw the trailer door open before gong to the house.  By this time, his wife and kids were home.  They got Mom or Dad to come sit with the kids while his wife drove him to the hospital 45 miles away to take care of his thumb.  He spent the evening in emergency and got home about midnight, with a few stitches minus the first two joints of his right thumb.  No idea where the rank bull ended up.  Maybe even as a victim of lead poisoning after a cooling/recovery period.

 

Fast forward to calving season the next spring.  When dealing with a newborn calf and his Mom in the pen next to the loading pen, he looked down and found his missing thumb laying in the straw.......


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#15 olcowhand ONLINE  

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Posted September 08, 2015 - 11:17 AM

Wow, your brother must be a tough one!  I think I'd have called it a day, found my thumb, and shot to the hospital immediately.  I've almost got caught in rope the same way, and it happens so bloody fast!


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