By Patty Wilber
So this week we separated bulls at the Red Cliff Ranch and put them in a bull pen (a big pasture) to rest up for next breeding season. Or maybe we were just getting them out of the cow’s hair… Either way.
There were six bulls. Two mature four-year-old bulls and two yearling bulls in with the cow herd (108 cow-calf pairs, about); two yearling bulls in with the 58 heifers (yearling females).
The first day, we gathered about 75% of the cow-calf herd and found three of their four bulls.
We moved the group to a corner of the pasture (and as you can see the pastures are BIG–lots of riding!). Bill opened the gate and stood guard, Chris and I held the cows so that they could drift away from the gate but not go too far from the corner fences, because Jeanne was moving the bulls.
Jeanne picked one bull at a time and pushed her target to the outside of the herd nice and quietly, then worked around the edge and back to the gate. The cows would make way and, easy as pie, Jeanne had the bull around and at the opening.
The first bull was the least excited about leaving the group for the unpopulated pasture on the other side of the fence, but once he was through, the other two had little trouble. Nice quiet work!!
Penny has been in the show ring for the last two years so holding was a great job for her–lots of time to observe and remember, with very little pressure.
We left the bulls and moved the pairs under a railroad trestle.
Then we started the three bulls back to headquarters, through the heifer pasture. At first the guys were not so interested in moving along, but they soon got a whiff of the heifers and started hoofing it with a little more enthusiasm.
As soon as we were in sight, the two heifer bulls came out to investigate.
There was some BS going on! Growling, snorting and bellowing! I wanted audio!
Eventually, they quit jousting and we got them headquarters bound. One of the youngsters vocally proclaimed his manhood the whole trip back. Insecure, I guess!
On Tuesday, we gathered the rest of the pairs herd and the second mature bull from the very back of the pasture. I used Lacey and she was a champ!
We pushed the group by the wind mill toward the trestle gate.
The bull was kind of lagging back, so we hurried the girls and let him mosey along. They were under and gone, gate shut, before he knew what happened!
Then we took him to the trailer, which was in the heifer pasture.
Bill put the trailer next to the fence and opened the gate.
The heifers were fascinated. I held them off and Bill, Jeanne and Chris moved that bull to the trailer and put him in front of the open gate. I am so sorry I did not get a video, because it was magical. They just held the bull there and if he wanted to move off, they ho hum, put him back. Within minutes, he decided to get in the trailer.
Coolest thing I ever saw!
What a great post! The pictures of the land & cattle (and horses, of course) are great. I like that I can enlarge them to enjoy the size of the space even more. Penny was sure “observing” with focus & intensity in that picture. Lacey’s ears look just a bit more relaxed. And the tail-swipe shot is great. Definitely a good thing you closed your eye.
Thanks Elizabeth! Penny was definitely more uptight than Lacey, but she seemed to remember ranch work and got more relaxed as the day progressed.
That tail swipe shot was one of those “oh!” things that I found when I looked at the pictures. I shot a gob of photos off my horse while doing the job–with my little box camera–so it was not possible to actually see what I took until later. Love the digital cameras with so much storage. I can shoot and shoot!
Loved this! Oh, the books I could write if I was you! Why have you not done this yet?
Thanks! You have no idea what a nice thing that is to hear! Maybe if I get some grand idea I can do it!!