How to Move Large Animals

Yesterday it was Sunday (well we all know that already ) and it was Hugo’s day off (and he was lying on the couch with a “cold in his face” – later he got up off the couch and made more of Pats banana pudding as medicine)  and John was chain-sawing dried tree trunks from a hedge the farmer took down so Hugo could split them next week. Well you get my drift. I did not want to call for help  thereby  interrupting any of these other important activities so I swanned off to move Queenie’s Bobby by myself.  I wanted to bring him home to create another mini herd.

Queenie’s Bobby is a big beast. Nothing like the slight Daisy’s Bobby who I can move about with my hip. Queenies Bobby is huge.

But a lonely cow is such a sad cow so I wanted him home.

But to get him to the stock trailer I had to move him through the big empty West Barn, around a corner and down into a race that would take him to the trailer that was backed up to the door. Then he had to jump up onto the trailer. And as you know – you only get one chance. Once the animal knows what you are about and balks, you may as well give up and come back tomorrow – especially when working alone. And also moving a lone animal is so much harder than a herd.

Think like a cow (my favourite talk). barn

It is all in the preparation. I put three buckets with a little grain at pertinent points. I placed my sweatshirt where he would see it from the corner of his eye and think it might be a person, I sat dogs along the route and hung my sunglasses up so they did not fall off my head at a bad moment. Then, once I was sure I was prepared, I opened the gate. Seeing the bucket and without missing a beat this big boy roared in the gate, slammed on the brakes, paused, gobbled a little food, then trotted anxiously across the open space, past the dogs guarding the stacks of hay,  avoided the scarecrow sweatshirt which dodged him to his left then he saw the next bucket of feed and rushed through the gate, into the race –  barn race

I ran behind shutting the race door, he kept on going and just as he reached the point where he had to jump into the trailer  I called “Bring him up” and Boo shot through and nipped his heel then ducked for cover and up the Bobby went into the trailer for his last reward with me slamming the big metal trailer gates behind him.

barn race

It was all done in about 30 seconds and I sat down on a bale of straw and felt quite pleased with myself – all by myself.

I drove him back home and released him into the field and after The Milking – Aunty and Lady wandered out to meet up with him again and after a bit of head butting they all dispersed to munch on the pasture. My little herd.

Mission accomplished.  You cannot be over prepared when moving a big animal. Think like a cow.

calves and barns

Can you see the little calves sleeping in the shade ? Yesterday Pania’s three chicks went to their new home and we candled Hugo’s eggs and it looks like most of them are viable. I was worried that my new rooster may be too young.  My other question is about Mrs Flower’s eggs. She has not been near Mr Flowers in over a month – would her latest batch of eggs be fertile?  I am thinking maybe not – but once the hens eggs are hatched we will incubate them and find out.

I hope you have a lovely day,

Love celi

PS. Just to clarify. A Bobby is an animal of the bovine persuasion that I am raising for beef. A Plonker is a pig that I am raising for pork and when I do another couple of sheep for mutton they will be Murphys.  The farmy has a language all of its own.

54 Comments on “How to Move Large Animals

  1. You work like a well-oiled machine! And you think like your animals! A job well done! Good Morning!

  2. I am totally impressed. I am going to read this one to Tim. He could pick up some tips and he has been farming since 1980! Impressive. What a big animal, I can’t believe you managed that all on your own. Wow, just wow.

  3. Two men in house. But Celi is on her own.
    Well done, Celi. So super. You are such a woman!!! And you told this story to us so wonderfully. Felt as being part of it, anxious, holding my breath and – actually relieved. You’ve got the great help of your dogs. Lovely Boo. Good Bobby. That is me a team – the real Swing, as you called it yesterday.
    Your little herd. So good.
    Have a lovely and “proudly” day!

  4. I think your quiet confidence contributes to your success too! Well done 🙂 Laura

  5. It’s all about ‘cow thinking’, isn’t it? Put yourself in their position, anticipate their reactions and make things calm and quiet for them. I love the description of the sweatshirt jumping out at poor Queenie Bobby. You must tell Hugo that moving cows is ‘vachement facile toute seule’ – there’s a pun in there, and I do love a good pun…

  6. Three cheers for Celie – a thinker ahead wil avoid all foreseeable problems. And I bet the bobby did’t even know he was doing anything other than what he wanted to do.

    God luck with all the eggs. A few peachicks will be a welcome addition to your budget.

    The wind is wild today here and likely to get wilder over the next couple of days.

    ViV x

  7. Very well planned operation Celi! Love the sweatshirt on the gate trick, and the dogs along the way! And of course the farmy language! 🙂

  8. And the chickens you raise for meat? Bobby’s, Murphy’s, Plonker’s and ? They have to get a name. Plonkers and Plucker’s sounds like a fabulous music venue!

    Loved yesterday’s post. I agree, sharing your music is like sharing a part of you that so personal. I think that is how my husband and I feel in love. We loved the some of the same music and that because a language we shared. He introduced me to Diana Krall and some of the great Jazz artists. I introduced him to George Strait and Vince Gill. This AM as I was coming to work, I was listening to Diana Krall’s album “When I look in Your Eyes”, it is one of the first albums he shared with me. When I hear it, my heart fills with love and happy memories float over me like small angles wings brushing my face. It was a great way to start a MONDAY back to work.

  9. A fascinating account ! Love the dogs along the route and at the heel 🙂 !

    Off topic: to the US and European readers coming into the Lounge: am up latish on a very special night in modern Australia’s history: we have a new Prime Minister as of 30 minutes ago and am waiting to hear him speak. The change took just some six hours. We do not have a President – just a Prime Minister and a two-chamber parliament. We do not elect our Prime Ministers, we elect a party, who behind closed doors elects a Leader who then becomes our current Prime Minister. Thus the Liberal [Republican] Party is still in power for another year, but a gentleman by the name of Malcolm Turnbull challenged our current PM Tony Abbott this afternoon and a spill motion and a special parliamentary meeting just now brought about this huge change. I am a centrist but shall go to bed immensely happy that the ‘Mad Monk’ has gone: Malcolm T is not always well liked but is a sophisticated statesman also more centrist in his politics . . . I do hope we move in a more positive direction than we have for the last two years . . . . back to fascinating TV but wanted to drop in with what may be news to some . . .

    • Thanks Eha, yes, news to me……I had heard there was a challenge but didn’t wait around for the outcome and have been in the garden since sun-up so haven’t heard the news yet….same, same different! I too…and most of Australia I think…will be pleased the Mad Monk in his budgie smugglers has gone…thank goodness. At least Malcolm can speak properly and run the right words together to make a sensible sentence, we’ll no longer be shamed on the world stage.

      • Nanette – Have ‘gone over’ somewhat leftish in the last two decades and have been so embarrassed during the last two years of ‘But we stopped the boats’ accompanied by that inane grin and seemingly no comprehension of what the world was all about. Know MT personally: yesses and nos but at least a statesman on the world stage. As you know his detractors call him ‘Labour’ – well, since I belong to the same ‘mixed’ category – am satisfied for the moment and wish him and us well!!

  10. Assuming that this Bobbies next ride will be on processing day I have to ponder (because this is how my brain works) if he will have any memory of his adventure and be more prone to balk while being loaded? Needless to say, you have grown him VERY well Miss C. He is huge. I could feel the growing excitement held within your words as you led us through his rush to the trailer. I might have been caught at the end doing a little ‘happy dance’ had I been the one moving this big boy.

    • He is a beef cow and on pasture which takes a while, so he will go back and forth a few more times between the farms before he is taken to the abbatoir late next summer.. I danced on the inside sitting on my bale of hay. c

  11. I like and appreciate the language of the farmy. And, your work is very much about common sense and knowing what works and what doesn’t from years of trial and error. Your narration of moving Queenie’s Bobby was so clear, that even without the photos I would have understood. In my mind’s eye I saw the reason for every preparation in advance… and what a boon to have Boo as a dependable and capable ranch hand! Bravo!!!!

  12. So true about the herd. Brent can move 90 cows before I can get four kids out the door for school. True story.

      • Jean how old is the norm for your grass fed beasts (though your alfalfa fields far exceed mine) before they are processed I know you grow to a size and so forth but what is the average age.. c

        • Long story short …. we slaughter around 22 – 24 months. We are slowly bringing in our age. Our customers want “beefy” and “tender” In France supermarkets, you will buy beef much older than that. It’s not aged. The result is tough beef full of water that doesn’t brown. You buy older mother cows. The label will tell you what you are buying if you know where to read. It’s a mother herd with calves off to feed-lot bidness here. Though, you would never think that. We keep trying new things and new finishing. It’s such a slow turn-around. Though, I think our beef tastes great! It’s tender as well. We are working on the different cuts at the moment. French cows are much larger than American cows. A rump has three names. Okay…..I could go on and on, but I have to get the kids!

          • Yes that sounds about right – dairy cows are so hard to fatten – but a good beef cow is such a different animal.. thank you!! hope you put on the lippy for the after school run. c

          • Thanks for the information. I wish we labeled our meats as to gender and conditions raised. Grass fed, Grass Finished and ” ” are not enough information to make good choices here. Love the quote about moving cows vs kids!!! So true.

  13. High five for an enormous job well done. Did he moo at all during the proceedings? Temple Grandn would be proud of you.

    • No, not one sound.. he only mooed when I got him back here and he saw his old friend Aunty Del and now they are all sleeping peacefully in the long grass,I will creep out and take a photo soon.. c

  14. Oh well done Celi. I wish there was some CCTV at the farmy, would have made a fabulous video. 😀 You know, from bad Boo puppy to wonder dog. That little guy’s a treasure. At my late father’s cabin is a ranch where the cowboy has an Australian kelpie named Shank. I probably told you this before, but I don’t care, that dog’s is just Shank the wonder dog! He can manage a herd of 50 cows by himself working with the cowboy. Isn’t it just amazing when dogs are given the opportunity to do the work they were born to do. 😀

  15. I AM impressed… really impressed. And, like many of the others who have mentioned it, I too was holding my breath in hope and concern about the success of the operation. And also impressed with Boo’s well trained actions to bring it all to fruition. How in the world does one train a dog to do that? And from that photo of him on the truck, he really does look like a huge bruiser. Well done!
    Hope Hugo’s ‘face cold’ is easing up… he doesn’t have a sinus infection, I hope.
    Hope your day is a lovely one too! ~ Mame 🙂

    • The corn is dry and dusty now and we are surrounded in it, I have a feeling he is allergic to the dust, as am I. (Though the soy beans are worse) when they are harvested our noses will clear up overnight. c

  16. That was an amazing thirty seconds! Queenie’s bobby is a big boy! We don’t always get size perspective, but that shot in the trailer says it all. He is a handsome fella. Glad the little herd is happy to be back together. Hope Hugo feels better today. Banana pudding sounds like the perfect remedy.

  17. It’s right dangerous to be in my environs right now because I am so proud of you that I am bustin’ my buttons, hence the danger factor. Lots of love, Gayle

  18. I’m always a little sad when the offspring of absent mothers head off to the abattoir, because that’s the last we have of her on the Farmy. That being said, Queenie’s huge bobby is making me hungry. *L*

  19. Lady Farmer superpowers… ably assisted by her trusty sidekicks! Daisy’s Bobby is a big bugger… when I saw the pic I was even more impressed and pleased.

  20. Good job, I always think it makes a job much easier if you have a good think about what it is you want to do and in the case of dealing with critters you must think about their personalities and perceptions and your relationship with them. I buy my meat (pastured chicken, pork and beef) from a local farmer. He raises belted galloway on grass and said it takes about a year longer than if he fed grain. His daughter shows in 4H and in order to get her steers to size in time for the fair they must feed them grain.

  21. Forgot, I went to the Wisconsin Sheep & Wool festival last weekend – pure sensory overload for a fiber person! They had stock dog demos going on. It’s utterly amazing what those dogs can do at the blast of a whistle.

  22. This is so impressive. When you haven’t got brawn you have to use brains. I’ve moved furniture and other heavy things (but not animals) using my brains. My favourite bit is your sweat-shirt hanging on the railing to look like another person. Now that is absolutely brilliant! (and funny too)

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