October 4, 2011

Science Lesson - Feeding Cows

Last night we had a short science lesson in the barn. First it included Tana being told NOT to eat the range cubes...they are for cows. So instead she hides, or takes a bite without you looking, and tastes each piece before throwing it to the cows. Our plan was to distract a few cows, especially the ones that bolt for the gate every time Ryan goes to shut it. And then the other cows would join them in the pen, simple, quick, easy process. Feed them and they will come. Ever since Tana was born I thought she needed to learn how to feed a cow a range cube by hand. Why...because it's neat and every cow is different. So here's how it went:

First we fed Sadie, the retired show heifer - she literally has a tongue long enough to wrap around your hand, slide it in her mouth, retrieve the cube and deposit your hand covered in slobber and snot. Tana didn't think I should feed her anymore. Why not though, I love her. Each time Tana told me no more! So Tana began to throw one cube at a time on the ground for Sadie.

More cows come, #4, also known as Bella, is a gentle cow we raised. She very delicately opened her mouth and took the cube without touching me! Awesome.

Moving on to Gravy (Tana's cow), who was a show heifer we purchased, and has forgotten all manners and behaviors of typical show cattle. She's the first the bolt, run, snort, but she loves to eat! And does she ever...she was so quick to run up, take the cube from my fingers and step back...I thought she grabbed my fingernail.

There were others to, some new to being fed one piece at a time, and those who are old pros. But who knew that cattle ate so differently. I mean the exact same cube in ten different mouths gets ten different ways of taking it and eating it. Just like dogs!

On a side note, Tana is very effective at gentling down calves. We weaned a nice heifer a while back and Tana got to help feed her. Except Tana doesn't just pour the feed in, she made the heifer eat from her hand before dumping the scoop of feed. It worked and she's rather calm now.

1 comment:

  1. Love your post. Old show heifer aren't they a joy, either well behaved, spoiled rotten or they turn into witches! I still love them though.