Bad Bovine Hair Styles

Today we hit a calving high so far in the season with 20 calves born. Cows were calving almost as fast as we could put pairs out into the other pasture.

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Weather can have an impact on cattle behaviors. It’s easier to tag calves in the morning than the afternoon. Calves are more sprite and run from you. When you chase them to catch them the cow gets excited and then the games begin. Other cows feed on the excitement.

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Also, wind makes critters act stupidly. Horses can be a little more giddy on a windy day and cattle don’t work as well. Last year we had out heifers in the heifer lot during a blizzard with winds that just seemed to funnel through the hills. My husband and I noticed one of our heifers had wandered off by herself and calved.

When we pulled up to the calf I was afraid it wasn’t doing well due to the cold. It was late in the night and we pulled the pickup up in front of her with the brights on to see. My husband decided to get out and check on the calf. Usually heifers are flighty and will run away when you go to look at their calves.

He got out of the pickup and took the spotlight as he walked towards her, cold wind howling through the trees. He got within 5 feet and the heifer took in after him. She would had got him but she slipped in the snow and fell. My husband turned and ran as fast as he could but because of the bright lights he couldn’t see. He forgot he left the door open to the pickup and slipped as he ran straight into it, slamming it shut with his face. I just saw him hit the door and go down.

The heifer was still acting crazy and I got out to go help him as he pulled himself up by his boot straps and bailed into the bed of the pickup. I backed the pickup away and he got out of the bed and into the cab. Turning on the light showed blood running down his face and I thought he had lost some teeth but realized after further inspection that it was just his chew that had come loose all over his mouth. The bridge of his nose was swelling and bloody. Other than that, he was fine!

Bad cows get a V for very aggressive, really bad cows get a note too…

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About 15 minutes later I was at least able to laugh about it. The image of him biffing it into the door was hilarious to me…. it took him a couple days. The bruise on his nose lasted past branding.

The combination of the wind and bright lights into the cows eyes had to have been scary to her. Now when I spotlight cows I try not to shine the light in their eyes.

We tried to tag one today that went about like this:

My husband tried to talk me into tagging and vaccinating the calf while he kept the cow away. I told him even if he was the Incredible Hulk, there’s no way he could get me to sit on that calf or stand between the cow and her calf. He then tried to get my father in law who was horseback to drive off the cow. When the horse got within 10 feet she took in after it too. He refused. We pulled the pickup up beside the calf and my husband leaned over the edge and pulled the calf into the bed by its feet. Lucky for us it was small.

Our other cow that we grafted the twin to (see Twins!) is a little wild. I tried to defend her today by saying she is probably a good protective mother. My husband said “yeah, like she’d protect her calf from being attacked by coyotes???” Okay, so she failed there too, she’s a good candidate for culling then….

We try to keep our cows on good behavior and breed docility. Temple Grandin did a study that showed cows with hair whorls below their eye level are more docile. As the hair whorls rise, so does the temperament of the cow. The cow that was aggressive today had no hair whorl, which is connected to the highest temperament. The one that ran me down in the Calf Taggin’ Shenanigans post also had no hair whorl…..

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Temple Grandin’s article can be seen on her site here: Temple Grandin, Hair Whorls

It seems I talk about our bad cows more than our good ones. How interesting would it be to hear about our polite cows every day? At any rate, there are some that stand out as cow of the month recipients. Like 025, the first cow I got to eat from my hand, now we have about 10 that will.

She even likes Australians:
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Cow 363 got a gold star this year when we went to tag her calf in the meadow and she was perfectly calm on a windy day. Not only has she earned her keep for 11 years, she has beautiful structure and every year she’s had a heifer calf it was selected as a replacement.
The cow that just had twins, 012, was very agreeable as well.

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So here’s to our good cows, may they produce many replacement heifers.

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8 thoughts on “Bad Bovine Hair Styles

  1. Kim

    You know, it’s too bad that I’ll probably never raise cattle; I feel like I am really learning a lot about them from your posts! (very very interesting about the hair whorl patterns!)

    Reply
    1. glattheranch Post author

      Australians aren’t as fun as one would think. They talk funny and shower too much. And take embarrassing videos (if you turn up the volume on that I can hear you snickering….)

      Reply
  2. wyranchwife

    You and your shovel just crack me up! I don’t mean that in a bad way it is just so funny to see you walking toward that cow with a shovel. However in those instances you take anything you have with you. Many times I sit on the four wheeler between the cow and my husband, which allows me the chance to be gone in no second flat. LOL Those are awfully ornery cows you got there. Good luck with tagging. I hope they become more cooperative!

    Reply
    1. glattheranch Post author

      HAHA. I’m glad you enjoy this. I would say majority of our cows are nice. But its that 25 or so (about 5 real bad ones) that make me cling to my little shovel. We don’t have any four wheelers here, do cattle respect you while you’re on them or will they try to still run you down?

      Reply
      1. wyranchwife

        It depends on the cattle. We have a few that I like to hide in the pickup when it comes time to tag their calves. Great mom’s but we have to be able to cut and tag them.
        The only good thing about the 4-wheeler is I can get away pretty fast. Most of the time I can keep it between them or at least give some scare to it. Like anything it doesn’t always work. A long time ago we had some black EXT bred cows that were awful. I could pick them out in the bunch. There were just a few that remind me of that cow you had on your video. Just complete rips! Luckily they are all down the road.
        We do like you and in the calving book they get sell written by their name if they are just too nasty. We are getting older (pushing 40) and we don’t have time with the kids to get laid up from being thrown around by some old cow.
        We are just gearing up to start calving heavy. It is hard work but a wonderful time of the year.

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