in which we hear it for the boys

in which we hear it for the boys

Tight little buddies from the beginning. Cow friendships are the lasting kind...

I know, I’ve been called on it before, and I admit it is true.  The Ladies get most of the press around here. Not fair and for no good reason, except that they got here first and took over.  And they look better in most of the pictures.  And they do silly comment-worthy things more often.

But now, the boys outnumber the girls. Not by much, and not for long, but today it’s true.

A few things about the boys are not exactly what I was expecting. The tussling, humping and general roughness is exactly what I thought bulls and steer would be like, but the politeness, loyalty and friendship was a bit of a surprise.

 

They are very social and enjoy each others company. I have a loner or two, but even they have their special close friends.  And Rocco, the bull, is Chairman of every pack. Rocco likes to spread himself around.

The intense gaze of Rocco - he doesn't miss anything...

This week, we have finally completely separated the boys from the girls. So, front pasture has all the ladies and the back pasture is home to all the steer and Rocco.

I hate to cloud their moment in the spotlight by mentioning this, but without the Ladies to show those boys where to go next, they’re a bit slow to find dinner. And to know when it’s time to come in out of the snow.

Found the hay, but forgot to go back inside to bed. All boy camp-out by the bale...

I put out three big bales of hay with plenty of space between so everyone would have a fair chance and plenty of room. You’d think they’d be happy to separate since there aren’t  enough places for everyone at one bale, but no.

Rather than strike out on their own, the littler guys have been watching Rocco and his top  henchmen do all the eating, politely waiting for their turn.  But politeness doesn’t buy much in the world of cows – once the big boys had their fill, they decided they weren’t risking their booty by going inside to bed.  They plopped down right there, at the foot of the bale for their naps, blocking the timid little fellas out.

Wearing their hay hats....

The Ladies would have split right up and made quick work of  all three bales.

So, today, I took pity on the gentle-men and led them to the other bales. They had been waiting for someone to take charge – I didn’t have to call twice.  Like the Pied Piper, I lead my parade of curly coated steer. And, let me tell you, they were pretty excited about their all you can eat buffet.

Can't explain it, but cows are big on single file...

Boys.

In which we’ve got bumps

In which we’ve got bumps

Sprite's sporting her second bump. Are you looking?

Baby bumps that is. When did the world become so interested in baby bumps? I’m not sure I get it, but then it is true I often don’t. In the days when women suffered from the “vapours”, a lady wouldn’t dream of strutting around flaunting a bulging belly like we do today. Of course, pretty much everything else women are free to do today would be off-limits to those vapid ladies too.

Well, neither the Ladies nor I are hardcore Libbers, but we are grateful for all our modern freedoms and choices. Thanks all you Freedom Warriors before us who made it all possible. We’re ever so grateful for your courage and sacrifices.

Bling made sure I got her bump from all angles she's so proud. What a ham!

Our Ladies have an odd blend of progressive and not-so-progressive in their approach to life. Apparently, in the cow world, having babies is a huge status symbol. They all strive to be mommies and seem to enjoy it tremendously. You’d have to see the pleasure these Ladies show while nursing their calves; I truly believe they have achieved Zen.

In a free cow’s world it is true that a female leads the herd. I admit to being somewhat surprised by this. The bull

Femme is a compact cutie. She looks young for her age; this is her second bump. Of all the Ladies, she was the sweetest, happiest mom and most dedicated babysitter to all the calves.

tends to watch things carefully and quietly from the middle of the herd while he decides how to best handle the situation. If you aren’t familiar with herd life, you might not notice him right away which may not end up so well for you.

More baby daddy than paternal one, no one relishes all the pleasures life has to offer more than Rocco.

Our Rocco is the first calf born on this farm and he is a colorful character. Definitely more a baby daddy than a paternal one, he spreads himself fairly among all the ladies. But he’s pretty companionable with the steer and the little ones too.

The Ladies step aside to give him the best of whatever there is and he isn’t shy about giving a solid shove to anyone too slow about it. Rocco seems pretty satisfied with the way life has turned out for him; lots of pretty ladies, plenty of good grass, fluffy straw beds all winter and freedom to roam and explore. And, the apple trees!

He also enjoys the company of the steer and a good-natured tussling session is held most evenings. I was surprised also by how much the steer enjoy each others company and how kind they usually are to one another. Rocco prefers to hang out with the boys when he has no pressing lady business. And, he’s just as likely to plop down and nap with the babies for a spell. Overall, Rocco is a sunny and personality packed fellow who spreads himself around.

More Bling bump! That's one goofy girl. She's actually trying to convince me to give her a butt scratch. We expect a total of 9 babies beginning very early this spring. Hannah, Sally and Ruby aren't showing bumps yet; they aren't far enough along, but according to Rocco, his work is done.

I wrote once before about our decision to keep a bull. In these days of Artificial Insemination, it isn’t necessary to keep an unpredictable bull around and many farmers don’t. We do for a few reasons. Since one of my primary goals is to allow these cows to show me just how capable they are of managing themselves, I always prefer the least intrusive, least human driven method of management possible. And, I just can’t ignore the lives bulls working as AI sires lead. Maybe not so bad for the Big Name Bull of the Season, but the lesser bulls really have an unfortunate life.

Rocco knows way more than I do about when the Ladies are ready. Rocco lets me know pretty early when the Ladies are settled. With his help, our babies have all been right on time.

Suki wants to make sure you see her bump too...

So, now we’ve all got bumps and the Ladies seem content. They’re ready now to part ways with this year’s babies to prepare for next years’. And Rocco seems pretty pleased with himself. As usual….

I like to say our Zay is the Pamela Anderson of cows. Somehow, she makes motherhood look hot. And all the boys seem to agree... check out that brisket!

And my goodness. What can I say about this? Gigunda? Humongous? Big, honking, mountainous bump? Say what you like; Molly could care less what you think. She couldn't be more pleased with her huge self. Pass the apples please!