Monday, April 16, 2012

Moving Cows a lesson in life

Jake and I moved cows all day today.  I really feel like I missed my calling in cattle psychology.  I really like to move cattle and try to figure out why they move in the direction they do and reasons they move easier.  I really don't know all the answers, but still enjoy the study.  It was 80 degrees today with a strong wind.  I took the kids to the carpool for school. Jake checked his cows and I went for the vaccines, pour on and more milk replacer (more on this later).  When I got back to the ranch Jake and I headed out on the 4-wheelers to move pairs to other pastures.

It was then I started thinking about the similarities of moving cattle to field trips of students.  We moved through the pasture quietly just looking around for pairs. Because of the movement this will cause a "pair up".  A "pair up" is just the cows and calves finding each other.  This is a lot like a field trip, when you make students find a buddy.  There is really no reason to get involved as a teacher.  You just sit back and let them find their own partners.  In my earlier years of teaching I would have chosen partners for the students and had them typed up.  Then I realized high school students will not conform to your partnership requests.

We then try to start taking groups of pairs towards the barn, where we could vaccinate and de-worm them before taking them out to pasture.  While moving cattle you easily find three groups of cows, similar to the three groups of people you find in life.  You have the leaders, the followers and then you have the third group of wanderers. The similarities of the cattle mover and the teacher is that it is easy to direct leaders and even followers to a final destination.  As for the wanderers, they are difficult to get to go anywhere.

We had to haul these calves to a different pasture.  When we haul you have to split the cows and calves. To keep from injuring the calves we haul the cows in the front compartment and calves in the back.  It also is important to make sure you have all the mama cows matched correctly to the calves you are moving.  You do not separate a mama from her baby.  They do not like to be separated.

After lunch we worked the sixty bull that would really like to be turned in with the cows after a long winter, for obvious reasons.  Jake made some male prison comparisons that will not be shared on this blog.  You can read about them on his blog though (enter sarcasm).

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