farm friday: who let the calves out?

Welcome back to Farm Friday!

A couple weeks ago, Bub and I were up for a 3AM feeding.  All was quiet and peaceful in the house.  Just him and I rocking back in forth in the glider as he drifted back to sleep.  The part of being up at 3AM that gives me the feels.

Farmer J doesn’t really participate in the nighttime feedings anymore now that Bub only wakes up once or twice a night (of course in dire situations where I am at the brink of frustration, he is always willing to help). In the first few weeks, he was there a lot for moral support, to change diapers, and to help lull little Bub back to sleep after a tasty meal.  However, because he doesn’t have the boobs to nurse, and his 24/7 job on the farm never stops, I have tried to let him sleep as peacefully as possible in the early morning hours.

Since our 3AM feeding is usually just a Bub and Mom time, I was surprised to hear Farmer J awake and coming down the hallway.  He quickly stopped by the nursery to let me know the sheriff had called and we had cattle on the loose.  Eek.

Obviously not the wakeup call you want at 3AM, but it also could have been worse.  When cattle get out, we first worry about public safety.  Drivers who aren’t paying attention (especially at night) may not see that 900 lb calf on the road.  Not quite the same as hitting a deer.  Then we worry about the animals.  We don’t want them to get injured or lost while on the loose.

Farmer J went out to survey the situation.  There is a big difference in the type of response required if there were a few calves out versus an entire pen.  Unfortunately, this time an entire pen of slightly wild steers were on the loose.  They broke the chain on the gate (potentially spooked by something during the night). Since I had to stay back with Bub, and I probably don’t have the proper experience to round up wild steers, I crawled back into bed (where of course I couldn’t fall back to sleep).  Given the number of cattle on the run, Farmer J called in the reinforcements (his dad, uncle, and our employee) to help with the search.

The steers split into two packs with some heading about a mile east of our farm and another pack heading about a mile south.  Most were found grazing our rye cover crops . . . another hidden benefit to planting them apparently.  The round up was difficult in the pitch black night, but all the cattle were eventually returned to their pen by early morning.

It was certainly an adventurous night for all.  At least Farmer J and I were already familiar with little sleep . . . everyone else not so much.  An extra-long lunch/nap break was in order for all, and that afternoon, the big project was to fix the lane gates (which could have prevented the mess in the first place).  Hopefully we don’t have such an eventful evening for a VERY long time.

Happy Friday All!


Not the steers in question, but a great picture nevertheless.  Photo courtesy of my sister-in-law (or maybe my sister-in-law’s friend?)


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