Soapweed-type story

Things that come up in the daily operation of a ranch.
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Cowpuncher
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Soapweed-type story

Post by Cowpuncher » Mon Feb 25, 2019 12:53 pm

Back about 25 years ago, I was partnering with my brother Jack in a small cattle operation. I helped him with the haying and feeding and I was allowed to keep about 20 cows on his ranch in Colorado.

We had bought some 90 first calf heifers from the sale barn in Limon, Colorado. There were some 27 red ones and the rest were black. I paid him at the average cost and gave him $10.00 if I could pick the all red ones instead of the red-white faced ones. We had them all in a fairly large coral, maybe 200 by 300 feet.

On one pleasant afternoon, we were checking up on them as they lounged around the coral. It had been a wet spring which was pretty rare in itself. The coral was quite muddy and there was a lot of manure in places, all saturated with some rather nasty-looking water. We observed one of Jack's heifers was laying down trying to give birth. After some minutes, I observed that it was a smaller heifer and that she appeared to be struggling and it might be a good idea to give her an assist. Now, Jack was one never to rush into a difficult situation, he finally agreed.

The heifer was laying behind a mound of manure and was totally oblivious to our presence. Jack got his OB chain from his pickup that was parked nearby, climbed the coral fence and stealthily crept up behind the heifer. It was a pretty dry spot where he was and he carefully connected the OB chain to the exposed feet of the emerging calf. He tested the connection and found it secure. He paused, waiting for the heifer to give it another try. She still had no clue that anything was going on.

When the heifer gave her next squeeze, Jack pulled on the chain with all his force. Suddenly, the heifer tealized that something was afoot. In an instant, she lept to her feet and charged away. Now brother Jack could have simply let go, but he thought that she would lay back down. She just plain ran away with the calf, now half emerged, hung outside connected to brother Jack. For what ever reason, Jack decided to hang on for as long as it took. It wasn't long before the heifer took a short turn and Jack was thrown unceremoniously into a huge pile of pretty fresh manure.

Jack cleaned himself off as best he could. We watched the heifer go to the far side of the coral laid down and her calf without any more help. Sometimes help goes unappreciated. My unconcealed mirth was sorely noted. After that, Jack decided to always give an animal an extra hour before interfering.


If it was easy, someone would have already done it.

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Re: Soapweed-type story

Post by Big Muddy rancher » Mon Feb 25, 2019 9:32 pm

They never seem to appreciate the help.
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Re: Soapweed-type story

Post by Haytrucker » Tue Feb 26, 2019 2:11 am

I know a couple stories close to that one, but I had a first a couple nights ago. It was the 7 pm check two hours after this set of cows were fed. I found a newborn with a nice mother, but it was too frosty for the calf to stay there so I hooked my right arm under it and headed for my pickup. The cow followed, mooing encouragement along the way. I know what you're thinking, and I was watching her close. I got to the passenger door and put the front half of the calf on the floorboard. I'm calving in a vintage F 350 and it is tall. Mom reached under the door and helped me get the back half on board with her nose. All this happened in real time, no aggravation noted. I have never seen the like, the cow all but apologized for calving in this weather. Later she jumped in a trailer with her warm, dry calf to spend the rest of the night in a barn. They don't breed enough of those. I have been helped loading a calf many times, and a couple times it took two tries, but always in a hurry.

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Re: Soapweed-type story

Post by JDBalerman » Tue Feb 26, 2019 7:20 pm

The first story brought back memories from many years ago. A neighbour with a similar problem heifer snuck up behind her and slipped the chain on one foot. He had slid the other end of the chain loop around his wrist so as to be ready to slip it on the second foot as soon as he could. Well the heifer spooked and drug him all over the field. He was in bad shape by the time she finally quit running, and his clothes were torn to shreds. He promised everyone that he would never do that again!!!

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