Cattle are very curious creatures. We’ve been working closely around them for weeks, months – it seems like years – building our new pens and handling facility. They always nose right over to us to see what is going on. We had almost completed the new holding pen on the hill a couple of weeks ago and decided to leave the double gates open to let the bovines get used to them.
It’s always easier to get them through a new gate if they think it was their idea. Two new gates and crossing a gravel road – that could really cause them to balk if we pushed them hard. So, we left the gates open and the first few brave ones ventured across the road. Soon a whole group came over to see what was happening.
Rick was quickly surrounded and then they headed up the hill to check out the fence Alex was still finishing up.
Since they were intent on exploring, we opened the gate to the runway up to the new handling pens. This section is still temporary fencing, with the cows and new calves on the other side. They were very curious too.
The herd moseyed on up to the new pens and inspected them thoroughly.
Eventually their exploration time was over and we shooed them all back down the hill to their pasture. The cow & calf pairs seemed to miss them, because they went over to the corner of their pasture in front of the new pens and laid down; all except for the new bull calf who was chasing his tail – literally. And he caught it. Don’t you wish you were that flexible and limber?
I’m happy to report the afternoon of exploration paid off a few days later when it was time to use the new pens, runway, chute and squeeze. The herd was already used to the new gates and it made things easier on everyone involved. We dumped some hay in the new side and opened the double gates and the whole group went right through with no problem. Then on up the hill and through the pens and squeeze like they knew what they were doing. There is a saying I’ve heard for working with cattle “Go slow, get there faster” and I think it is true.