I started building pens and a squeeze chute the next weekend. I got plans from the Texas A&M extension service and studied them, selecting the set of pens I thought would work for me. I built the fence across a big water trough with half of the trough in the pen and half on the outside. That way if I had a cow in the pen to doctor she could get to the water and the rest of the herd on the outside could drink also. I also started practicing with my rope. I got so I could throw my loop around a 55-gallon barrel every time if the barrel didn’t move. I was learning a little more. I guess I will have to admit that even though I spent the next forty years in the cattle business I never stopped learning from them.
In later years I would enjoy just sitting in the pickup watching the cows. You can learn so much from them. For instance a mamma cow will hide her brand new calf and sometimes you can hardly find it. Another thing in the spring when I had a lot of little calves running around with their tails in the air having a good time chasing one another, one mama would be assigned to baby sit. She would stay with those calves even when the rest of the herd had grazed off to the other end of the pasture. You can even tell the weather by watching cows. It they are not hungry some will lie down and chew their cud but they will all lay down together if a storm is approaching. I never did figure this one out but it may be something about a low pressure moving in.
During the drought, I ran out of grass and was able to lease the place across the pavement for grazing. I moved the herd across the road without any problem, except for my bull. He would not step on that pavement regardless of what I did to try and force him to do so. I finally roped him and tied the rope to the bumper of my pickup. I then started easing across the pavement and when he reached the edge of the pavement, he started pulling back. I kept slowly pulling and he actually sat down like a big dog pulling back on that rope. My back wheels started spinning and my tires were smoking, but I gave it a little more gas and he started sliding across the pavement still sitting down. Can you imagine the old rancher that happened by looking in disbelief at what that new guy was doing with his bull? I bet they had a lot of laughs down at the feed store. Except for some abrasions on his rear, my bull did not suffer any damage and I did finally get him across the road.
Photo of water trough found here.
Photo of babysitter found here.
Photo of sitting bovine found here.