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OPINION: Cows don't discriminate

While the Hubs and I helped a neighbor work his cows recently, I was reminded how cattle are not discriminating creatures. They do not pick favorites for being on their best behavior for when it comes to the equipment used to get them worked or t...

While the Hubs and I helped a neighbor work his cows recently, I was reminded how cattle are not discriminating creatures. They do not pick favorites for being on their best behavior for when it comes to the equipment used to get them worked or the people helping.

Working with our new neighbor's state-of-the-art cattle handling equipment was a new experience for many of the neighbors that usually turn out to help work cows. Everyone gave a nod of approval over the ease and slickness of the layout of the corrals, the handy round tub, the alley and the hydraulic squeeze chute with special features for restraining livestock to replace eartags and have them be vaccinated and pregnancy checked.

The setup was easy for everyone to get into a groove with a designated job they were comfortable with. Many of the crew did the same job they do at every neighbor's cattle working day, but enjoyed how the high-tech equipment made their job easier.

Another gal and I did the sorting and bringing in six head of cows at a time - or 15 calves at a time once the cows were done - from the outside corrals into the round tub for one of the guys to push cows up the alley. The job my friend and I had allowed us ample time to visit and catch up; none of this having to concentrate on keeping a tally count on the cows, steers and heifer calves, recordkeeping of the old and new eartags or messing with any of the vaccination stuff.

I considered our job way more fun and requiring less attention and focus while visiting - or so I thought. Midway through working the cows, we'd run a small bunch into the holding pen leading to the cattle holding tub in the barn. The cows went in like all rest and we carried on our conversation about kids and family when suddenly a cow came back outside followed by another cow all in a huff. The breachy cow came after me and put me on the fence then directed her bad attitude at my friend until both of us were on the fence. The grumpy cow trotted back inside momentarily, looking for someone else to chase. She snorted, kicked up dirt and head-butted the portable panels connected to the tub at the sight of the owner on the other side. There were several attempts to draw her attention toward the tub until she finally went in so she could be contained where she wouldn't hurt anybody. The owner commented on the cow's demonstration of bull-like behavior, which earned her not only a number on the cull list but the nickname "Caitlyn," as in Caitlyn Jenner (formerly known as Bruce Jenner).

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The fiasco proved that it doesn't matter if cows are run through shoddy corrals, alleys and chutes or a state-of-the-art cattle handling facility. A cow with a bad attitude does not discriminate and behave nicely only in specially designed cattle handling equipment. Modern cattle-friendly equipment reduces stress on cattle and most of the common cattle working problems, making it easier for the handlers, but if a cow wants to stir up trouble she's not going to let anything or any person deter her.

Ornery cows treat everybody the same. They don't discriminate by the equipment an owner uses or the people working them, but what's worse, such cows always disrupt an important point I was about to make in an engaging conversation or cause me to forget what I was saying.

Related Topics: CATTLEAGRICULTURE
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