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Bovines — Curious creatures

Gentle readers, I have always been a little curious as to how momma cows pick the one cow to baby sit the “littles” while the rest of them go to water. Have you ever wondered that? It certainly must be that special cow that they know will defend and nurture their babies while they are away. And the other thing is, the “littles” seem to know that they are in good hands with this particular “grandma” cow and don’t go chasing off after their moms. I am sure there are lessons to be learned here under these circumstances just as there are with other creatures. I have to admit I missed so many of these lessons in my younger cowboyin’ days. I wish now that I had paid more attention way back then and applied some of what I had learned to my daily obligations.

I, like many of you, have had what we thought at the time could be “near death experiences” while trying to tag or doctor a newborn if momma was one of THOSE. Yep, we all like our momma cows to be protective of their babies, but not to the point they make a nervous wreck out of us as they stand 3 feet away, head down, blowing snot with bloodshot eyes while we are trying to put an ear tag on their baby. I always preferred to work out of a pickup where at least I had a chance to jump in the back if all “heck” breaks loose. On the other hand, I, like you, have had some of those old sisters try and climb right up in the back with you. I have had the unfortunate situation to be a’horseback when I had to try and tag a new baby and of course, the cow will charge you and your horse runs off and you better hope that horse is not tied to the calf. It’s almost funny as I picture that situation unfolding, but it wasn’t funny at the time. Thank God my horse only went a short distance as the calf was on the rope and the cow stopped and stood over her calf.

I was able to get on my horse and pull the calf up close enough to free him as momma was almost in my back pocket.



I reckon that cows are a lot like we are as humans. I certainly believe that what breed they are and how they are pastured and handled has a lot to do with how they behave. In north east Texas we had a lot of “bremmer” crossed cows and being able to run a cow on five or six acres usually meant your pastures were small. That could also mean that those old gals could be a little testy if challenged. You just do the best you can with what you got. I knew a lot of “farmer” types or back yard cow men that worked their cows with nothing but a stick and on foot. The cows stayed gentle and the calves were calmer for sure. Well, of course, a cowboy is gonna’ have none of that. He needs wide open spaces, a good hoss and maybe a couple of good dogs to keep him happy and stay on the job for any length of time. I could tell you a “cow joke” now but I probably would BUTCHER IT! HA, HA, GET IT?

I was doing some chores outside the other day and stopped to catch a breath and looked over at my neighbor’s pasture and there was this steer and he was just standing there and it appears he was just observing me and had been for some time. What in the world was he thinking? Cows are curious creatures! I remember one time long ago when old Lester (83 years) and I stopped to water our horses at a windmill on the vast LX Ranch north of Amarillo. It was a hot summer day and here comes this ol’ steer out of the brush to get a drink of water. He paused briefly to look us over and then came on in for a drink across the large tub that was there. He was just one of the boys that day but still I had to wonder about him a little. Most yearlings wouldn’t approach a situation unless they had others with them. Oh well. I’m still learning even in my old age as I usually have cattle on my place every summer.



Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, “let me control the text books and I will control the state!” Adolf Hitler, I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

Mad Jack Hanks




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