Thursday, June 10, 2010

Moving the calves to a bigger pasture

It's past time for the calves to get out of the nursing pen.  Besides, the grass needs to grow up a bit in there before Lucy and Rosie freshen.  They will want to munch while they are in there.

We tried to move them once, and Caramel went through the electric fence - not once, but about three times!  We saw her little body jerk when the electricity hit her, but it didn't deter her a bit.  She wanted out - wanted to experience wide open spaces.  It was obvious that it wasn't going to work, so we lured her back to the nursing pen, along with Delaney and Blossom, where there is no electricity because the whole paddock is lined with heavy fencing designed to keep calves and smaller animals safely inside.  We used a bucket of milk to finally get her in the nursing pen with its secure fencing. 

Very quickly she ignored the milk bucket.  We are really lucky we got her in.  I saw her walking the perimeter of the pen, head down, going very slowly.  She was obviously looking for an escape route.  I just stood there and laughed.  That little stinker!  Her mother was an escape artist, too.  They have Normandy blood, and Normandies are notorious for escaping. 

This morning, when I was done feeding the three heifer calves and the bull calf - another Sam Junior until he is sold - I lured all four of them into the larger calf paddock with the empty buckets.  Blossom went right in, and to my surprise, so did Caramel.  I finally lured Delaney and Sam Jr. in.  I heard a few startled cries as their noses hit the electric fencing.  But Delaney and Sam Jr. escaped anyway - both of them ignoring the shocks and taking off, one to the north, the other to the south.  I thought I was in deep trouble.  How would I get them back in?

I forgot about the herd instinct.  There was no way that Blossom and, surprisingly, Caramel were going to leave that pen.  They are the biggest, and they were hitting the top wire, the really hot one.  They decided to enjoy their new digs and began running from one end of the paddock to the other, enjoying the spaciousness of the paddock after two months in the small nursing pen.  All of that room!  They were in heaven.  The two who had escaped looked longingly at the two inside.  Fortunately they had not escaped into the same paddock, or I don't think things would have turned out so well.  Both of them braved yet another shock to get back in the pen with Buttercup and Caramel.  Job done, all four in the larger calf paddock, happily running from one end to the other, then stopping to eat some of the lush grass that is growing there.

They are such beautiful animals.  I stand in awe when I watch them.  I will be sad to see Sam Jr. go.

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