“The cow from Area 51” or “The diary of a mad cow owner”
We first got into ranching when Kimmy finally relented and realized it is more humane and healthy to grow your own meat rather than buy it from a store. After researching cows, I decided that Galloways would be a good choice for meat production. They are a cold weather cow that is very furry (sort of like a bison) and naturally accumulates its fat within the meat rather than on the outside (fine textured marbling). Fortunately, there is a Galloway producer nearby that has about 140 cow-calf pairs. Sarah, the owner of the Hang 5 Galloway ranch was looking to thin her herd and was willing to sell me a pair or more if we wanted. After visiting her 1,600 acre ranch and viewing many cows I realized I couldn’t tell the difference between a good cow and a bad one, so I asked Sarah to give me list with some specifics like the age of the cow, the gender of the calf, and whether the cow was a registered Galloway. Based on that list, I chose cow #51 and her calf. Sarah thought that was fine and arranged to have Doug her cow-hand deliver them on December 1.
Doug and his son arrived just before noon with the two cows in the trailer. They pulled into the pasture, I secured the electric fence, put down some food for them and let them out of the trailer. For five minutes they investigated the pasture. Then looked at the woven wire fence with three strands of barbed wire on top and proceeded to go right through it like it was butter. Thankfully Doug was as shocked as I was. I hopped on my ATV and took off for our neighbor’s gate to drive them back onto our property. It worked great – I felt like a cow hand – I drove them right back onto our pasture, closed the gate and had them secure… for about five more minutes when they decide to go through the fence again. Once again I hopped on my ATV and headed over to my neighbors. This time however, when I tried to drive them they decided that the 4 strand barbed wire fence going out of our neighbor’s property looked like butter so they went through that and headed down the street! I took off on the ATV, went past them at 35 mph, did a u-turn in the street and had a face off with the two of them. The calf and momma decided the best thing to do was go through the 5 strand barbed wire fence to my right and onto 60 acres of pasture!
At this point I was clueless. I asked Doug if this was normal and he said, no, that he had never seen cows go through fences like that. After two more hours the cows went through another couple fences and ended up about ¾ miles from our house on a neighbor’s 35 acre pasture. Doug suggested we let them spend the night there and in the morning when they were calmer move them back home. Sounded good to me, I was exhausted. That night Kimmy and I recounted the exciting day and agreed if they weren’t in the pasture we left them in we would call Doug and tell him to come get his cows.
December 2nd dawned a beautiful calm day. I hoped in my truck and went to our neighbor’s to see how the cows were doing. Unfortunately, they weren’t there – they were no where to be seen. After searching for them for an hour on my ATV (with no luck) I had Kimmy go with me in my truck. We found them about 1 ¼ miles from our house, grazing with some horses at the local equestrian center. I called Doug and said, “Please come down here and take your cows back”.
When Doug arrived, the hands at the equestrian center saddled up two horses with the intention of driving the cow into the arena from whence we could load it. Alas, the cows didn’t agree, so they had to rope the momma. Now, at this point I already had an inkling that this cow was nuts having seen all the fences she went through, but when I saw her go after the cowhand on his horse I knew she had to be an alien from area 51 or a mad cow! After 30 minutes of pulling and kicking and screaming we got her on the trailer and turned our attention to the calf. Wouldn’t you know it, that little shit went through 4 wire electric fence onto a neighbor’s property where we couldn’t chase her on horse or ATV. There were cows there that huddled around her and gave her protection. Three of us went after her, two guys with lassos and me the green-hand. We finally drove the calf into a corral where they roped her and hog tied her. We got her on the trailer and sent them home.
Doug’s parting words to me were, “Not all cows are like this. In fact, I’ve never seen a cow act this way.” Yeah, sure! So now, we still don’t own any cows and I am gun-shy based on my recent experience. I need to email Sarah and see what she suggests. More cow adventures to come.