The saying “grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence” rang very true for the cows this week. Despite acres of lush grazing in their own field, last night the entire herd had to be coerced back onto our side of the fence after poaching our neighbour’s very tempting crop of grass.
We feel some of the blame lies on the bull, a Limousin, and for that reason he is back home this afternoon. Fortunately he is an amiable chap, a beef bull, and we were able to lead him into the trailer from the corral with the minimum of fuss. And that is what you want when you have a beast weighing over a ton.
If he does not want to do something, he just does not do it and we do not challenge him. The last thing we need is a bad tempered bull. They can literally be killers. Since I have been married to John I have only once known us to have a really dangerous bull. That was when we had a dairy herd.
The bull, a big Friesian, had to be pitchforked off my brother in law Geoff as he had him pinned to the ground and was planning a rather nasty line in crushing Geoff’s ribs in. As John did not consider it safe to take the bull to the abattoir after that incident, or keep it on the farm, it had to be humanely killed by a licensed slaughter man on the farm.
It must be emphasised however that taking a simplistic view that dairy bulls are more aggressive than beef bulls is to court disaster. All bulls must be treated with respect.
Why our Limmy bull was to blame for yesterday’s breakout was his habit of leaning up against fences. Lazy cow you might say. But where he leant in this case must have been a weak point in the barrier. The cows needed no further encouragement and were through, across a green lane and into the delights of new pastures.
Fortunately a neighbouring farmer spotted the escapees and came to tell us. John did his rodeo trick with the Land Rover and the cows galloped home, back through the gap that Big Daddy Bull had created for them.
Once the herd have found a gap in the defences however, they will persist in trying to use the same route out. Despite John re-fencing this afternoon, the cows have been pressed up against the same spot, hoping it seems, to test the effectiveness of the new perimeter.
For that reason John has just taken one of the flat trailers to park up in the field against the fence and dash any hopes the cows may have of a second breakout.
Luckily the cows have done no harm to the silage field. It is slightly trampled, but the grass is already springing back. The wheelings from the Land Rover are just visible, but no lasting damage has been done. Apologies have been sent and accepted.