Feeding The Cattle

The cattle have been living out on the summer pasture since May, but in a couple weeks, we will round them up and haul them closer to home for the winter. Our round-up is not the stuff of the movies with horses and whooping cowboys. Ours is quieter and easier too. We coax them in with grain into the loading pen, and then close the gate. The older cows are familiar with this gig and come right up when called. The younger cows take a little more coaxing, and the calves have no clue what’s going on and are hesitant to come into the pen. So in order to get everyone to come up into the pen when called, we practice several times in the weeks leading up to the roundup. It’s a pretty low tech deal. We drive into the pen and call the cows, WHOOOOOOOO – OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! CALF! CALF! WHOOOOOOO – OOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Most of them come running.

They follow Harland around waiting for him to fill the troughs. He’s like the pied piper of cows.

He fills the troughs.

They love the grain. So tasty.

We continue to call them until they all come up into the pen which takes about a half hour or more. Some of them take their sweet time coming in. The calves have no clue what’s up. They stand in a group off by themselves waiting for their mamas.

In time they’ll figure out that there’s a good treat to be had in the troughs.

When everyone has come up and had some grain, we head on home leaving some puzzled looks behind us.

In a couple weeks, we’ll feed them grain at the pasture for the last time, everyone will come up, we’ll close the gate on the pen, and then load them all on a stock trailer for the trip home.

They hate riding in the stock trailer. Shhh….don’t tell them what’s coming soon.


Up Next Tomorrow: Orange and Red – The leaves of Fall.


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Cattle, corn, wheat, beans, mud, snow, ice, and drought. Plenty of fresh air and quiet. Our life is sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes joyous, but never boring.

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18 Responses

  1. Doe of Mi. says:

    I used to love calling the cows as a kid. Fun to watch them
    come running. Pigs used to do the same – come a runnin’.
    Dinnah time!!

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Doe,
      Fun to call them, but kinda scary too when all of them get near and they’re kinda big and weigh a lot. I always hope they don’t run me over. 🙂

  2. Julie says:

    I am learning so much from blogs such as this. I have no idea what it’s like to call the cows and why they have to be moved, where they go etc.

    The only calling we had in our neighborhood was for ‘Glenn Edward!’ he was always in trouble. hhahahaha

  3. We always said, “here boss, boss, boss, boss, boss. Bossy, boss.”
    Don’t know where Dad got that from but it worked!

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Gardener,
      I guess it doesn’t matter what you call them, just if you say the same thing every time. We also honk the truck horn and that works too over long distances.

  4. Glyndalyn says:

    My dad called cows almost the same way: Whooooooo COW, cow, cow. Whoooo COW. I never learned. They would come running usually led by Old Pete, the Hereford bull. Once, we drove into a neighbor’s field to look at their Angus cattle. Their bull raced over, put his head under the front bumper of the truck, and proceeded to try to turn over the truck. Ha! I still think it is funny. However, no one attempted to get out of the truckand chase him off. He eventually gave up and wandered away.

  5. I love all your posts, but I look forward to what you have in store tomorrow!!! Fall my favorite time of year. We are still in the upper 80’s here and it is driving me crazy to go North.

    Up Next Tomorrow: Orange and Red – The leaves of Fall.

  6. Lily says:

    My husband always says “Skifff. Skifff.” while shaking the bucket. I’ve never thought to ask him why. Don’t you love it how they are so peaceful and calm when the guys are feeding them. But if I’m the one walking around in there with the feed, I feel like they are about to pounce on me at any moment! LOL!

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Lily,
      Yes, the cows like Harland better than me. But he’s had some of them for over 10 years, and so they know him well. One of them is practically a pet.
      They’ve only seen me for about 3 years, so they don’t trust me.

  7. Teresa says:

    Love your cattle pictures! Isn’t it nice when they love food so much and will do pretty much anything for it? With an ear of corn, I could probably get my ox to go anywhere.

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Teresa,
      Yes, thank goodness they love grain so much. We get them to do a lot of things with it. It’s bribery I know, but hey, whatever it takes.

  8. Chester's Mom says:

    My dad always called the cows with “whoa babe”. That and shaking a bucket full of sweet feed would bring them running.
    Like your cows they learned quickly what was in the troughs.
    Where do you suppose the proper cow calling words came from? LOL

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Chester’s Mom,
      I think whatever words that the farmer uses all the time is what works. They just recognize the same words if used often enough, I think.

  9. I love how you call the cows “whoooooooo calf calf calf!” I like your “more please” picture! cute!

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