I was a seventeen-year-old town girl when my husband moved us to the farm and tried to teach me how to take care of our new cattle herd. He was working in town and gone long hours. Since I was home all day (with nothing to do except clean, cook, do laundry, keep the wood fire going and take care of the baby) I needed to learn how to “work cattle.”
Seriously, I had to learn. My husband often left before daylight and returned, exhausted, after dark. I learned to put out hay and break ice on the pond in winter. I learned to walk in among a milling herd to fill the troughs with corn.
What the Cattle taught me about People
- Take time to get acquainted. Stay calm and quiet while they look you over. Don’t expect to be the boss the first time you walk out among strangers.
- Be nice when you don’t have to. If you provide treats & pats on the back consistently for a few weeks, they’ll follow you anywhere when you need them to.
- Don’t judge by breed or the color of their hide. For instance, Brahman’s: dangerous rodeo bucking bulls in the U.S., in India, where they are worshipped, they are so tame they are actually a nuisance. It all depends on how they are treated.
- Don’t get between a Mama cow and her calf. Even the sweetest old cow can be dangerous if she thinks her you might hurt her baby.
- No ordinary fence will stop a cow if she sees something she really wants on the other side. Keep her happy and content to stay home by making sure she’s well fed and has a good bull there when she needs one.
- Sometimes one individual is more trouble than all the rest of the herd. She gets into fights, gets out in the road, gets in your face when you try to work with her. Don’t keep that cow in your herd, she’s not worth the hassle.