The mistress of malfeasance herself with her not so much a baby anymore Douglas. Stella is locked away from Douglas at about 5:00 PM on milking days so we can get that evening's milk come 4:40 AM the next day. Well Ms. Stella has been starting to self-wean Doug, so she isn't letting him nurse much at all, which means her bag gets full and uncomfortable very fast. Sometime between 2:00 and 3:00AM Monday night Stella started yelling for Doug for just that reason, and him being locked away meant he couldn't respond. Of course we woke up at the squalling as no doubt half our neighborhood did. A bellowing cow has the volume of something between a full volume trombone and a ferry horn. She's was very LOUD and very upset. All the excitement and stress got new bull baby Ryder completely worked up. When I went out to check on why all the noise was happening in robe with flashlight in hand that was all too much for Ryder who bolted through a hot wire behind his pen. Unfortunately, I'd had to unplug it to go out and check on everyone. Ryder tore through several other paddocks, tearing down the fence all the way as he tried to get to Stella in the ajoining paddock. I think he was close enough to having been weaned that he sees her as mom, and was more than happy to come help her out by nursing if he could get to her. He was pretty scared no doubt of course as well, being in strange new place. Fortunately (or unfortunately) for me he had a rope halter with a trailing rope still on and Stella is in a hard fence paddock, so he bounced off that fence, and I was able to get close enough to grab the trailing end. The fight was on as Ryder wanted nothing to do with a scary human in nothing more than her robe, carrying a blinding flashlight. He bolted and I hung on, and on, and on. I got drug around pretty good a few times, but would then get to my feet and brace against him. There were a few times we'd both stop and pant, each staring at one another, straining on our respective lead rope ends. Not sure if any one else remembered, but there was actually a meteor shower that evening, so as I sat straining on the rope, several of them shot across the sky. It's just too bad I wasn't really in a position to truly appreciate them. I knew that if I let go of the rope I'd never get Ryder back in, so I kept easing up, working him up to the barn, between bouts tug-of-war, getting drug, flashlight flying one way, me the other, scraped knees, rope burned hands, a few bruises no doubt on both of us in the process. FINALLY I got him close enough to the run-in I was able to get the rope around a 4 x 4 post and anchor him. The entire time we fought, Stella screamed incessantly, so it was about then that J came out and asked me, "Is everything all right?"
No, no it wasn't of course! It took both of us to drag resisting Ryder back into his area, and tie him off again. He darn near drug us both around the home paddock all over again just as above, but we somehow held on until he was secured. Still had Stella to deal with though, so J marched her right into the milking stall, got her milking gear, cleaned the cow up and got to milking. Then we both tried to get an hour's sleep before we got up to the alarm... not much luck there as we seriously questioned whether we may have gotten in over our heads!
Had a lot of this stuff on me the other night. If you think cattle might be the thing for you keep in mind that there's a lot of this involved! And late night rodeos too...Fortunately we are pretty handy, so I spent most of Tuesday making Ryder a stall where he will remain, until he recognizes this place as home, and there is abslolutely no chance Stella can convince him to break out. I spent a little time working with Ryder as well, and he was a lot calmer. Pretty spent no doubt from the night before, just like me. Also repaired all the fence damage and when J got home we got to work on the stanchion shown above and below, modeled by our steer boy Douglas.
Doug fought a bit, but once I showed him the grain pan, then that was an OK place to be, stanchion or no. Trick is to get Stella and Ryder in it. Stay tuned for all your rodeo action here!
Also no, none of our battle royale was caught on video or still pictures. It was just me, Ryder and the eternal stars watching, or so I dearly hope...