Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Cows in the night

Cast- Me (Mum) & Husband.
Starring - Bill & Ben - 19 month old Angus steers

One thing I never thought I would do - go searching at night for two young steers in 17 acres of paddocks, armed with a torch and a bucket of chaff!  Last night we did just that (see... much more exciting than watching TV!). 
Husband hadn't seen the two boys, I hadn't been able to give them their bucket the previous day, and we were both nervous that they had again escaped.  Husband needs the numbers of the ear-tag off the smaller steer, so we try to maintain some control over them by using food/bucket.  We drove down to the bottom paddock, and it was already freezing, with frost developing on the grass.  We entered the paddock and called for the two boys.  We had a beautiful full moon, so it was really light, but I was still a bit worried about being 'rushed' by the two boys and nervously looked around into the shadows of the paddock.  After standing there and calling, there was no answer (Husband was 'mooing' convincingly!!!) so we had to go and look for them.

After trawling 2 more paddocks, and still not sighting the two buggers, Husband decides that he will move the car to halfway up the property whilst I keep looking.  Leaving me on my own in a paddock with just a torch and chaff for protection concerned me.  I am used to traffic, lights, people, and lots of be alone in a paddock at night, in just the moonlight, with a pair of moody steer lurking in the blackberries made me very uneasy.  I wasn't going to moo.  Instead, keeping my torch firmly trained on the shadows, and nervously glancing behind me in case a cheeky cow was sneaking up, I made my way to the middle paddock.  This is the lowest paddock, and after the rains, it is 'mushy'.  Husband had by now driven the car down and parked on the road adjacent to the paddock and was 'mooing' as he walked towards me (maybe he needed the chaff hehe!).  Then we heard them, a low answering 'moo' from behind the blackberries!

Shining my torch in the direction of the 'moo', there are two pairs of eyes staring out at me from amidst the berry bushes.  There was a loud crash as four large bullocks from the neighbour's took off up their paddock, they were either discussing their latest escape plan (probably in cahoots with the chickens) over the fence or having a game of hide and seek.  However, upon sighting the bucket our two soon came charging out of the bushes towards us.  I am a bit scared of Ben, he is the bigger of the two and pushy.  Ben is the one that absconded over the fence previously.  As he came towards us, I hid behind Husband and Ben drove his head into Husband's bucket.  I was then able to get Bill to come to my bucket.  I was grateful that they were both there, as I had vowed that if they escaped, I wasn't chasing them back.

So there we were at 8.30pm in the moonlight on a chilly Tasmanian night, listening to Bill and Ben chewing away contentedly in their buckets, toes numb from the cold - thinking 'this is the life' :)

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