Mission Completed!

April on the Left – Killian on the Right. These two were born only 1 day apart!!

The arrival of the new Moms and Babies has proven to be quite the task. One that has stretched over a 3-day period, just to get us to this very moment you see in the photo above. Dwayne and Rob arrived around 8:30pm Thursday night. By then – it was pitch black.  Dwayne had to pull the trailer into the very same paddock where Artist and Bruce were staying at the time.

A fresh young Bull – and a trailer loaded with ladies. Flashlights. And the headlights of a John Deere Tractor Mower. ( Dwayne’s decided to add to his list of Honey-Do’s after this event! )

Artist went nuts. But in his defense – we just could not ask for a more well-mannered and behaved Bull. He minds commands so respectfully. Makes me love him that much more!

The trailer was backed up to the barn. Moms had been loaded to the front of the trailer. Babies were loaded to the back. Besides weight management for towing – it gave us a safer upperhand for getting everybody bedded up in stalls.

We got each of the babies into a stall – tied them up to the cattle panel – left the stall doors open. Opened the divider in the trailer – Moms quickly exited into the alley of the barn.

Within moments – each were in the right stall with their baby – stall doors shut – babies untied! We only needed to fill the water buckets. I had already filled hay racks and hay bags for the babies. And a ration of grain with mineral and Pro-Bios was waiting in their feed buckets.

We chose to leave them in stalls and leave barn lights on for the night because they had arrived to a strange place by the time it was pitch black outside. Both the Moms are pregnant. And we couldn’t be sure what to expect out of Artist throughout the night – separated by only a fence.

And THAT turned out to be the easiest part. The only surprise we got – Bruce. That boy has mooed only TWICE since arriving here last April – until this night. And he’s was as vocal as Artist until Saturday afternoon.

Come Friday morning – everybody had their breakfast. Dwayne moved the portable hay rack over to their paddock. And we turned the Moms and Babies out into their new surroundings.

The introductions at the fence turned out to be quite smooth and cordial.

 

We gave them the day to become acquainted through the fence. The plan was to separate the babies that night. Get them into the barn stalls. Let Artist go over to the paddock with the girls. Leave Bruce in the other paddock with the babies.

First attempt failed – and we had to go to Plan B. We managed to get Killian into a stall. But dainty Miss April – Ha!

And then, Bruce decided to show me something at suppertime that gave me some concern. Mr. Sweetheart was beginning to push his weight around at the supper table. We changed our minds and decided he needed the Moms to put his handsome butt through some ‘ Charm School ‘.

We put a feeder bunker in the alley of the barn Friday night – hoping the feed would coax the Moms inside.

Well – when you only have 1 baby in a stall – you only get 1 Mom into the alley. ” Fine. We’ll take it. One down – two to go. ” Got Cora into a stall with Killian.

The first failure to separate the babies was enough to change Dwayne’s mind. He decided to try my suggestion – the imaginary wall. He went after the rope for the anchor on our boat.

Now – check this out.

One end of the rope was tied to the corner post at the opening entrance to the new area we fenced in before the cows arrived. The other end was stretched all the way out and laid on the ground. There was only 2 of us. The rope is long enough that I was needed for holding it up in the middle – if necessary. ( Mind you – if necessary. )

Patty and her baby ( April ) were in the corner of the paddock by the gate for accessing both paddocks. Dwayne stood at the end of the rope. I stood in the middle of the rope. A little coaxing – and the cows begin to move down the fence line.

Watch this.

Dwayne heads over to the end of the rope and picks it up. Immediately – I see Patty’s eyes turn to him. And I can tell – she’s doing math. And she sees the pocket for getting around him. And she begins to turn around.

Understand this.

In this cow’s mind – she sees Dwayne now constrained by this rope – and figures she can get around him to get away.

Quietly – I keep telling him to put the rope down! He starts telling me that it’s too far out. We meet in the middle in seconds. He moves the rope over and puts it down.  A soft coaxing. Patty and April walked right into the new area.

Dwayne began bringing the rope up to the entrance. I headed up and opened up the barn door. Both cows walked into the barn – and into their stall! I scrambled in and shut the stall door.

Voila!

Dwayne tied the rope across the entrance to the paddock – back and forth a few times – to discourage anyone from leaving the small area. He came in to work the tasks in the stalls.  I stood by the door to discourage anybody taking off if they got out. His height is much more advantageous with these two girls.

Cora still had her nylon halter/lead rope on her head. And we needed to remove it before turning her back out to the paddock. Dwayne ended up using the show stick to rub her ‘ sweet spot ‘ ( thank you, Sally! ) to calm her down. The blunt end wouldn’t budge the halter loose enough. So he – very carefully – began using the point of the show stick.

The show stick is all we had at the time.  In this situation – were the cow to jump at all – Dwayne would have dropped the show stick.  Best thing to do in this situation.  That pointed end can become dangerous for either – you or the cow.

It was as if Cora could feel what Dwayne was trying to do. And she was ready for that thing to come off. The girl was more than happy to stand there and let him take care of that!

Next – Dwayne walked into the stalls and got the babies tied to the cattle panel windows. He headed outside to untie the anchor rope from the entrance to the paddock. I opened the barn door – then opened the stall doors. The Moms took off for the paddock.

I headed to the gate between the 2 paddocks to let Bruce and Artist in. And of course – the one time I want both boys at the gate – Bruce is having a moment up at the barn and refusing to comply.

Dwayne headed to the other side of the barn to walk Bruce over to the gate.

Within moments – the gate was opened and that introduction went smooth as silk!

They even enjoyed their first Dinner Date without one argument.

After-Dinner Cocktails followed!

Dwayne slept with the heating pad. He took TylenolPM. I took a pain pill.

I saved the Tylenol for taking with my breakfast this morning.

Ugh.

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About Three Cedars Irish Dexters

With gorgeous views from up on a hill in the middle of a Holler, tucked quietly in the beauty of East Tennessee - we raise Dexter Cattle - an adventure birthed in April, 2012 with the ultimate goal of spoiling and pampering every 4-legged ' mooovelous ' soul living here with us!
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3 Responses to Mission Completed!

  1. Where is the cows ‘sweet spot’ – is it same for all or do each have their own?! I can only get near mine when I’m feeding them a cow treat, at the moment they don’t like to be touched at all – probably the way they were handled before they came to me! Do they feel less threatened by a stick?

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    • The ‘sweet spot ‘ is located at the top of their back, right at their withers ( that knot on their back between their neck and back ). You start there, not very hard. Just rub back and forth with calm words in a low tone. Gradually go back and forth, until they let you massage their entire backbone. Anytime they become stressed, or, move… or, if you wanna keep them still to get a halter on them… perfect tool.

      I was taught to do this, continually, while training for halter and leading. And it can be applied to almost anytime you need to get close to them. It makes for a great way to just spend time beside them, for building trust.

      The one thing that I’ve learned most of all about this – you will only succeed by starting from inside a stall. Once they are able to calmly walk out of the stall – you practice walking around the barn alley for a bit. A little each day for a couple of weeks, should do the trick.

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      • Thanks very much for the tip. I will be getting them inside at some point over winter so will try it then. I had a go yesterday while giving them a treat and one of them didn’t seem that bothered – until the food ran out!

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