Whoever said bovines are stupid must be...daft. In reality, having learned from personal experience, bovines are a lot smarter than we give them credit for!
Case in point: getting what they want.
Sunday was nasty weather...rain, rain, rain. Our neighbors' fields have big lakes in them from all the rain the ground hasn't soaked up yet. (It's alarming, really, but that's a discussion for another time.) I mentioned to Paul that we may want to let the herd into the sacrifice paddock (which we have not been sacrificing this year, therefore Skookumchuck Pond hasn't developed!) so they could seek shelter in the barn stalls if they wanted. Taking further pity, and realizing the rain had caused the grass in the backyard to shoot up, he decided to let them graze in our backyard, something we've done many times before without issue. They happily munched their way around the yard, stopping to beat up the pine trees we have yet to remove. No biggie. We had to run family to Shelton so we put them back in the paddock, set the turkey in the oven to time bake, raced to Shelton and came home to finish the turkey dinner before our family got back.
And who was in the yard? The cattle. Hmm. Apparently giving them green grass and rudely taking it away means they can and will find a way to unlatch the gate and come back in to finish snacking. We rounded them up in the dark - Sheila and Eiger in the middle of an ill-timed head-butting match and all - and finished dinner. We latched the gate well by wrapping the chain all the way around the post. There's no way they'd unlatch that sucker.
So, imagine my shock at driving home late yesterday to find Xoe contemplating the road from the edge of our driveway! COWS OUT!
I pulled in, threw the Honda into park and jumped out, calling, frantic, "Xoe! Xoe! Come here, girl!" Then, crap, I caught site of Clyde and Cowboy in the side yard over between the old raised garden beds and the dog kennel. MULTI-ANIMAL BREAKOUT! This day went from good to full-blown, one-woman circus immediately!
I bunched my slacks into my muddy, poopy rubber boots, opened the gate to the backyard and tried to coax Clyde and Cowboy through with grain (and caught site of Eiger behind the garage, great), but they wouldn't go. Thinking fast, I ran into the garage to grab the fence pliers in case I needed to cut the baling twine that holds part of our Clampett-style, cobbled-together chain link fence closed, only to see Xoe's backend disappear behind the trees that are between our driveway and the road. "Xoe! Xoe!" I called and at least got her attention.
Thankfully the baling twine was looped, not tied, so I threw the loop off, yanked the fence panel open, and called to the boys, shaking my grain buckets by my sides. They loped into the yard in hot pursuit as I led them across and through the gate into the north pasture. To heck with the grain...they wanted the green grass, and the north pasture had lots. Just then, Eiger and Xoe came running in, too, happy to have the grass.
Eventually, I located the hole the boys made in the fence between the sacrifice paddock and the (unfenced) side yard...right beside the opposite gate post and the compost pile. Nice. (How do I know it was boys? Because both Clyde and Eiger - and two other bulls we've housed on our property - have messed with that fence. It's twisted hogwire...totally unacceptable for keeping cattle in - or out of - anything! We plan to replace it this summer.)
Right now the entire herd is housed in the north pasture. We drove out and visited the folks we lease summer pasture from to get a sense of when the cattle can go back. Funny how I had just responded to their e-mail earlier in the day saying this weekend would likely be too soon for us (because we haven't preg checked yet), and now we're thinking, "Can you take them tomorrow?!" This week is crappy, weather-wise, but there's a drying trend predicted at the end of the week, so we may be hauling everyone out Saturday and figuring out the preg check shenanigans later.
All I know is, these animals want GREEN, not hay, and we're fast running out!