Testosterone: Friend or Foe?

My last blog I explained how we have turned the bulls in with the cows and have turned all the mama cows and their calves onto grass. For the past 2 weeks we have been riding everyday to now move cows off grass that is close to home and up into the mountains, onto our crown range land. One day when dad and I were gathering cows a prime example of darn bulls and their testosterone happened and I had to share! It was just dad and I and we had gathered about 80 pairs (cows and their babies). We were holding them at the salt, so we could get ourselves sorted out and make a plan. There are always 30 different cows trails you have to try and block while moving cows and generally only two or three riders so it is always a challenge. In this instance we had to move the animals off this flat bench down a hill and up the other side to eventually get them to a gate and onto our trail to send them to the mountains. However, just as the hill drops down there is a trail into the thick willows that the cows take and if they do we cannot get them back because the willows are so thick you can only walk in. So we needed to block that trail as well as somebody needs to get in front of the herd to turn them out the gate and somebody needs to bring them as well. Math has never been my strong point, but even I know that is too many places to block for just dad and I, but somehow we made it work, my border collie working dog, Millie is a huge help because she is basically like another person and can bring the cattle forward, so I could watch the trail into the willows. However, Dad was just about to ride away to get ahead of the herd to turn them out the gate, which was about half a kilometer from where we had the cows. Just as he was leaving two bulls started fighting. We had to put our whole operation on hold and try and wait for them to stop fighting because we wanted to make sure we brought both bulls. So we had to stop moving the herd and hold them until the bulls finished their match. Once they finish it’s usually doesn’t make things any easier because now the bull who lost tries to leave the herd. It was one of those disastrous days, nothing went smoothly, but we got the job done!   ~Erika Strande~

Dad in front of the herd trying to stop them while we wait for the bull fight to be over.


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