“Put your running shoes on, you’re going to need them” was all the instruction I received as John tapped at the kitchen window.
He had been trying to catch a calf with suspected pneumonia for the vet to inspect. Clearly things were not going well and he needed assistance.
Shows how desperate he was to drag me along.
In the Land Rover ( along with some very excited dogs, they always love a bit of drama) was a coil of rope. Did John plan to end it all?
No, if things did not go as intended Plan D was to lasso the calf and drag it into the corral where John wanted the vet to inspect it.
But, so far Plans B and C remained to be implemented, and that was where I came in. Plan A was already a non starter as the cows refused to walk into the corral as the ground was too muddy for their delicate little hooves. Plan B was that together John and I would encourage them in with lots of whoops and hollers.
It failed. I needed the running shoes. Every time we got the herd anywhere near the gate into the corral, one of the cows decided to break away and lead all of them off.
It is quite unnerving to face a herd of cows determined to get away from you. I do not think they would have deliberately run us down, but as a suckler herd they are a bit wild and unpredictable. I got out of the way when they started thundering towards me. So did John. Although he added sound effects.
Plan C was for me to drive the Land Rover for John to get close enough to the calf for him to jump out and pin the calf down.
That nearly resulted in the expensive crown he has just had fitted on his front tooth being shattered. Along with its neighbour. John still has a very swollen chin where the calf’s hoof caught him.
Onto Plan D and the lasso. John wrapped the coil of rope around his shepherd’s crook and hung it out of the window whilst I again tried to separate the calf from the herd and especially Mum. We nearly managed several times but by now John had decided he did not want to distress the calf or wind up the herd. Back for the trailer. Plan E. A cup of coffee.
Eventually we managed to walk cow and calf into a gated section of the field that leads into a field of wheat. It creates a small penned section and as the cows would love to get into the wheat, they were enticed in there, and then we could separate the calf out. Despite all the chase round it remained a calf with attitude. Head butting John. The vet. And me.
But we did get the prescribed dose of antibiotic in and returned him still defiant to his Mum. The fighting spirit bodes well for his survival.