Dwayne and I turned Bruce and Artist out into the new area, yesterday, while we worked on another Hay bin for the first paddock. ( I’ll explain that one in a minute. ) It was easier to accomplish by getting them to come through the barn alley ( They love the cool air in there during summer ) as a pass-thru to get to the other side.
But this is a great example for the capable behavior of these cattle! It was funny!
They had clear access to the temporary opening that leads out to the second paddock – where a 6′ gate will be installed. Both had ventured to the other side of the fence near the opening. But they would stay for only a short time – before heading directly back into the new area.
After a couple hours of the 2 of them remaining in the new area we just fenced off – I began wondering.
Dwayne thought they just wanted to put their ‘ thumprint ‘ on the new space. Keeping my eye on them told me something different. And then I noticed something really strange. Both cows began going to the opening and looking out into the paddock. But it was as if they were afraid to cross some imaginary line.
And then it donned on me.
Up until this point in time – both boys have been trained to understand that they cannot enter the second paddock without wearing their Control Halters.
With all the work we’ve done – they are no longer required to wear the Control Halters. We’ve reached the point where we are now able to approach both cows and put their Halters on – free hand – without trouble.
This breed of cattle are very smart. And their mental retention is amazing!
I realized it was necessary for me to help them understand that they can now enter the second paddock without their Control Halters. So – I walked to the center of the paddock and called out to the boys. I was able to get the Bull’s ( Artist ) attention, first. But it took some coaxing. And he stepped slowly – one foot at a time – almost looking back up at me with each step he progressed forward.
By the time he reached the temporary opening – I almost had to beg him. ” It’s okay, Baby. C’mon! Come out to the trees! ” After a few times – with a certain calming tone I use with my voice – he stepped over that imaginary line that seemed to be drawn in his mind.
Artist stopped when he reached halfway between me and the temporary opening – and looked back at Bruce. Common expectation with this boy. It’s difficult to get him to go anywhere without Bruce. ( I’m hoping it’s just a communal factor – since Bruce will be heading to the freezer down the road. )
That’s when I began calling for Bruce. And just like Artist – once he reached that imaginary line at the temporary opening – he froze. It took even more coaxing with him.
However – Bruce has always understood, ” It’s okay, Baby ” a lot more easily than Artist. And when the message hit home – this boy kicked his back feet into the air and bolted! Bucking around on a full run – all the way to Artist! Bucking around Artist – until the two of them took off running!
From the far corner of the paddock – there was a few moments of playful ‘ head butting ‘ between the 2 – before both of them tore off into a full run – like horses – all the way back to the water trough at the new space!
And this became a repeat – for a dozen or so times. Back and forth – from the far corner of the paddock – all the way back to the water trough!
It was if both of them got the message. And all this was something new to both of them. For whatever reason – anything new that we introduce to these two boys becomes a scene that leaves us feeling like we’re watching puppies playing in a yard!
And it’s just one more reason why we are having so much fun raising these animals!
Most people that don’t raise livestock only have this mental image of “ Cow – Grocery Store – Pit – Plate. ”
Most ranchers that do raise livestock develop a callus that only allows this mental image of one huge mass of stock that feeds their family – at the end of the day.
For us – we’re finding that the experience with raising these Dexter Cattle offers a much more personal interaction. If you take time to pay enough attention – you discover so many things that these little beasts can help you learn – and develop – about yourself!
Back to the Hay Bin –
I love watching my husband work with power tools! It’s like picking up a pencil with him! He’s just that good at it!
And this is a great example – almost like putting together some concoction in the kitchen!
We now need another hay bin for this paddock.
This front area to the first paddock will end up being used for weaning heifers. They’re smaller in size at that age. So – this makes for a perfect height!
This portable Hay Bin that Dwayne built is taller. Dexter Cows are taller than Bulls and Steers. But all of them can reach. So – we decided to move this bin over to the second paddock where Artist and his herd will reside.
Anytime you get an opportunity to use materials that you already have – you’re using good sense! All the materials we’ve used for making both of these bins came from leftovers!