Moving our bull

When we were debating selling the cows, my husband seriously considered getting rid of all livestock, not having animals on the farm at all. It would be like a ghost town here. Letting him mull that over for a while, I gave him time to think things through. We talked then about raising Black Angus, and that idea took hold and sprouted.

While I am very thankful for these animals on the farm; they are a different breed altogether than Holsteins. They are feistier, and I know that firsthand after encountering one butting me up against a cement wall.

That being said, we haven’t had any more close encounters with the Angus, for the most part, because we are very aware of how they act. Whenever he has time after feeding, my husband leans on the gate a while, watching them. He’s done that his whole life, watched the animals, and as a result, has developed a keen intuition regarding them. He is an excellent herdsman.

For the past few weeks, he’s casually mentioned we need to move our big bull named Bub back in with the cows so he could continue with his business. He’s been separated from the herd since early May. I think I told you all about that removal procedure. I was very anxious then and now again. I tensed up over the mere mention of moving the bull back to where he belongs. He has grown in the year since we acquired him, and his red neck is thick and he just simply looks and moves big. I shudder.

The day arrived when my husband stated, “I’m moving Bub today.”

“Do you need help?” Please no. Please no.

“No.”

“Are you sure? How’re you gonna do that all by yourself?”

“I’ll use the skidder. Don’t worry about it.”

He can say that to me all he wants, and I will still worry about it. Leaving him alone, I tried to keep busy. After hearing the skidder start up and that tell-tale reverse beep-beep-beeping, going ahead, beeping backward sound, I knew he was trying to round him up in the heifer barn.

Slipping on my tennis shoes (I had replaced my flip-flops with shoes so I could run away faster), I tentatively walked over there. Sneaking a look just past our shed, all of a sudden I heard the groan of the trailer, signifying Bub was inside.

Spotting me, my husband yelled for me to move the truck so he could shut gates. Hopping in as quick as lightning, I shoved the truck into drive and slowly pulled away, all the while getting jostled around by Bub’s massive weight in the trailer.

Soon I heard, “Hurry up! He’s butting the door with his head!” The bull had done a complete turnaround inside; how, I will never know.

Oh gosh. My heart started pounding and I kept moving. If he’d bust open that trailer, we’d have a big red Seminole bull loose in the yard. As long as I was moving, he seemed to be settling. I crawled slowly up the driveway but not too far because my husband would have to take over to back the trailer up to the cow yard.

I got out, and my husband took the wheel. Going around to the cow yard, I shut off the electric fence and opened the gate. Husband backed the trailer up flush. Quickly, he got out of the truck and opening up the trailer gate, coaxed big Bub out.

“Come on now, get out of there! Go ahead!”

Bub followed directions, the trailer groaning under his weight as he stepped down and into the cow yard. I breathed a huge sigh of relief.

Patting my husband on the shoulder, I told him, “You amaze me! Great job!” He basically had done this all on his own, chicken me showing up to drive the truck.

Standing there watching them for a while, he explained that he went around and around with the skidder, getting Bub out of the heifer barn and up into the trailer. Before he began he had stuck a big round bale up on one side to try to narrow the exit space. Bub had butted that thing like a rag doll, and finally realizing what he was supposed to do, had stepped up into the trailer.

As we talked there at the gate, we saw Bub begin to reacquaint himself with the herd. They all gather around and sniff and bump heads as he again established authority. It never ceases to amaze me how these animals interact with each other and just how powerful they are.

At the end of the day, I’m glad we still have animals on the farm. It brings life and yes, a bit of anxiety, but oh, those ribeyes are so worth it!

(“The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.” Proverbs 27:12)