My new Cowgirl life continues. I have had a couple of rather harrowing experiences in the past couple weeks, but mostly, it has been just purely amazing and life-changing to have my own herd of Scottish Highlands. The one thing no one tells you about rotational grazing and cow tending in this scenario, is that you will constantly be full of worry. Or maybe that’s just me. Are the cows happy. Are the cows getting enough to eat. Are the cows in the fence still. Is the fence knocked down or shorted out somewhere. Are they getting enough mineral and salt, and the right kind. Are they stressed with the heat. Have they trampled down enough in their current paddock to make a good change for more lush growth. Where will the next paddock be, and how soon do I need it at the ready? I literally have nightmares of cows outside of the fence running for the hills, deer herds swarming through and getting tangled in the polywire and scaring my cows to death.
Add to that my concern about the pregnant mommas. I feel like they are a bit too skinny, but know that the demands on their bodies from their babies growing in these last couple of weeks of pregnancy are great. There are cautions against getting your momma cows too fat and/or over feeding in the last trimester because that can lead to large calves and difficult calving situations. I want to be entirely grass based with my cows, even pregnant mommas. So I figure pasture/forage nourishment is the best approach. Which is kind of hard considering these cows are currently improving the pastures by their grazing and trampling, and can’t benefit from their own work immediately. It takes moving them frequently, fencing supplies and time for re-growth to develop pastures that are lush and nutritious.
So yesterday I put the herd on the best, most rich pasture area I have. This led to MayMay having to be locked up. It has also led to nearly every vehicle that drove by today slowing down to a snail’s pace, and last night as a thunderstorm came up and rain was pelting down, an unsuspecting Amish family’s horse drawn buggy almost went in the ditch when their horse spooked. Not many people (or horses, apparently) see Highland cattle in person. Especially right there, next to the road, which is where I set up my new paddock. The Amish horse was freaked out at the sight of them. I had heard them coming and hidden in the brush with the cows, because I feel I must upset them with my tattoos and uncovered lady ways, if you know what I mean. The Amish horse spooked and so did my cows. They ran away from the waterlogged ditch they’d been chilling in to beat the heat. They respect the fence, my dear and lovely cows! Then I came out of the brush and apologized to the poor guy who spooked as well, some crazy lady just came out of nowhere in the pouring rain!
I had enough length in my polywire to enclose the garlic and keep the cows out of it. It’s close to being done growing, but I wanted to let it have just a bit longer.
Because I am using single strand electric polywire (which, by the way, is the BOMB compared to steel wire,) MayMay had to be removed from “her” herd for her own safety for the next couple of days. While I was supervising the cows to make sure they understood the perimeter, Missy Meeezle-toff ( I have tons of weird nick names for her) jetted under the wire and into the road. Prancing about, beautifully fat and glossy, she was a free agent in this dangerous situation. It was fine when she wandered freely from the other paddocks I’d set up on the interior of the land, but not by the road. She was a cantankerous turd to catch and then to drag her back up to the pavilion, away from her herd, my god, what a herd-spoiled animal she is! But this is only in her best interest and safety. I have been exceedingly glad to see how well she’s managed to wrangle her way into this new herd of Highlands, head butting her way into these cattles’ lives. But they sadly, don’t really care about her the same way she has attached to them. Her sad gremlin calls from “jail” went unnoticed by the herd. They don’t speak goat.
I was up at 3am stressing about the cows, are they in the paddock? Are they all in the road? Are they gone? Since my bear sighting, I was too nervous to go into the pitch dark to go see, until the beginning light of dawn pinked up the sky.Little Blue, my aged Heeler, came with as my guard. As I approached, my eyes and paranoia played tricks on me. It looked like the fence was in the road. But it wasn’t, thank god. And the cows…? They were peacefully grazing in the middle of the paddock!