’til The Cows Come Home

Weekends are the busiest part of the week in the summer. So anything unexpected that comes up between Friday and Sunday really throws a stick in the spokes.

A couple Saturdays ago, after a long day at the Hopkins Farmers Market, I got home late afternoon and began feeding and moving animals around like every Saturday night. Just before dark I decided it would be a good idea to run some mineral out to our cattle herd. I drove back to their pasture, and low and behold: no cows.

I pulled my headphones off and cursed under my breath. Then I heard them.

Off in the distance, in the woods to the south of our property, I heard mama cows bellering for their calves. A clock immediately started ticking in my mind. There were 25 cows that I needed to find, locate where they escaped from, and bring them back over to our farm and get them set up with water, all before dark.

I drove our south fence line and quickly found out how they escaped. A large tree had fallen over on the fence, bringing the wires to the ground. Likely a single inquisitive cow decided to walk over the downed fence, and all the rest decided to follow.

Long story short, I found the herd, convinced them to follow me back over the downed fence and then I moved them to a new pasture (without any trees on the fence) and moved their watering setup just as darkness settled in. It made for a long evening, as I still had freezers to pack from Sunday morning at Linden Hills.

And as luck would have it, just last weekend a fair amount of time was spent chasing a single wayward cow.

In the summer months we custom graze certified Organic dairy heifers for our neighbor, who milks for Organic Valley. Doing my weekly head count, I found that the herd was one short.

The dairy-farmer neighbor and I got on our four-wheelers and started driving the fencelines looking for any signs of where the missing heifer could be.

We found hoof prints and manure pats in the woods surrounding our farm’s northwest corner, but no signs (or sounds) of the missing cow.

Then, a couple days later, I was driving our south fence line, and standing in the trees on the other side of the fence was the large black and white Holstein just waiting to be let back in.

“Well, why did you leave if you are just gonna want back in?” I asked the cow.

After some headache, we finally got her back with the herd, only to have her escape again the next day and the day after that.

Realizing that we had a heifer with no regard for my electric fencing, my neighbor and I rounded her up and moved her back to her home farm up the road.

It’s been a few days now and all of the cows are where they should be, which is great news seeing as we are heading into a busy weekend.

Here’s hoping things stay uneventful, at least until Monday.

Thanks for reading,
Farmer Andre

Leave a Reply