Last year one of our cows was moving rather slowly and was always the last one to show up anywhere in the field. So, I decided that she was getting old and since she did not appear to be pregnant as she should be, it was time to sell her.
However, since she was almost always the last cow to show up, it was difficult to get her into the feed lot by my usual method. The usual method is to call the cattle and feed them some range cubes in the feedlot. Most of them would come running and of course, the first ones who arrived, got most of the food. She would not get there before the feed was all gone and the cattle were leaving the feedlot, so she did not go into the lot.
One day, I asked a cowboy friend if he had any ideas on how to get her into the feedlot. He came out with his horse and worked to round up this wayward cow. He spent the good part of an hour trying to herd her in. To no avail. So, we gave up for the time being.
Several weeks after the horse and rider episode, she had a calf, much to my surprise!! Not a good time to sell her at this point.
This spring (2011), I noticed one day, that the cattle were all pretty close to the feedlot, including the red whiteface that was the target of our previous year’s hunt. We had sold her calf, so did not have to contend with separating them. So, I fed the range cubes in the feed bunk and the cattle came in, including Mrs. Red whiteface. I closed the gate and we had her!!! YES!
We separated the cattle and let out the ones we did not want to sell. We left 4 calves with the Red Whiteface cow so she would have some company until Saturday. Saturday is the day that the local sale barn has their sale.
Our grand daughter spent the night with us and was excited to be going with me to the sale barn that Saturday. She is 4 years old. We walked the cattle around and around the feedlot trying to get them into the smaller pen and eventually into the trailer. We finally did get her into the smaller pen and then let the calves out into the pasture. We THOUGHT we had it made, but we were wrong!
My very patient wife worked to get feed in the trailer to coax the cow into the trailer. I got in the pen and walked her around to get some action toward the trailer. After a while, her attitude toward me deteriorated and she would stare at me, like she wanted to kill me. At that point, I decided to get out of the pen and up on the fence. She still charged at me and made me feel very uncomfortable.
Finally, my wife hung out in the hot sun for about 2 hours hiding by the trailer prepared to close the gate when she got in the trailer. It never happened.
We decided to feed her in the trailer and just keep her in the pen until we could get her into the trailer. After about 4 days, she would go into the trailer even when we were about 20 feet away. At this point, we had a rope tied to the inside gate in the stock trailer, so that we could pull it from some distance and lock her in when the time came.
So, Saturday morning, a week from our original date to sell her, we got up about 7:30 and fed her in the front of the trailer. She got in and we sprung the trap. She was not a happy camper and turned around to try to find a way out. We locked the middle gate and the outer gate and were ready to go.
I picked up my grand daughter at her house (she was waiting on the front porch with a container of cookies for us to eat while waiting at the sale barn). We got to the sale barn and as we unloaded, I told the crew that the cow was not happy. When the gate was opened, she jumped right out and everyone stayed clear. SUCCESS!
We parked the truck and trailer and I gave my grand daughter a tour of the auction arena (the sale had not yet started). I then took her home and then went back to the farm. Later in the evening, I went back to town to pick up a check. She weighed 920 pounds and brought a little over $600. I praise the Lord that this particular cow is no longer a part of the Sheadfarm.