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Cows have weird tendencies, too

From the Farm

October 5, 2012
By Kerry Hoffman , The Journal

It's vacation week for Kerry. Enjoy this column from September 2010.

Youngest Son has a brown T-shirt that says in big yellow letters, "I got out of bed for this?"

I wish I would have worn that darn piece of cotton Thursday morning at 4:30. Never mind that brown isn't my color; I would've worn it anyway.

Article Photos

Kerry Hoffman

For several days, we have been having issues with our cows getting loose in the morning and creating havoc in everyone's world. I am surprised the neighbors haven't called and asked us, "Is everything OK?"

Sunday morning, Steve, Joey, Russell and I were not on the work schedule.

Out of habit, I was awake at 4:30 that morning, and then I heard it crazy cows!

I said to Steve, "That doesn't sound good."

"No, it doesn't," he replied.

The cows were cavorting in restricted areas; areas outside their fence.

I knew my bed heaven was at an unwelcome ending.

Before Steve, Joey and I even reached the bottom of the stairs, a knock came from the front door. Our employees were looking for help in little bit of cow wrangling, which works best with a mob.

A good hour and a half was spent chasing the cows around every square-inch of the farm. Do you know how hard it is to chase black and white cows in the pitch-black morning? It's not easy. I commented we need a black light out there, then at least the white areas would glow purple and we would know where they are carousing.

Monday morning, Steve and I were again sleeping, but were stirred awake by foolish cows. (How come I hear the cows, but I never hear our boys come home at night? Hmmm.)

Monday morning's fiasco wasn't nearly as chaotic as Sunday, as only two-thirds of the cows were out partying.

I chose to get up Tuesday morning to help Mitch and Steve with chores, just to make sure the cows didn't escape.

I posted myself in an open area near the milking barn, waiting for Steve and Mitch to bring the cows down to the barn.

Three or four "feral" heifers came running down the path, ran into the holding area in the barn and darted right back out into the oncoming cow traffic.

Cows are herding animals. Yes, they would follow each other off a cliff edge herd mentality.

I ran like mad to cut them off at the pass, jump in front of them to get them to stop. That's intimidating, but it worked, everyone remained inside the fenced area.

Wednesday morning, just Steve and I were on the schedule. I stood in my posted spot and Steve started bringing the cows down to the parlor. It happened again! Several insane cows decided to buck the system and sprint back into the oncoming parade of sane, normal cows.

Thursday morning, I was asked to get out of bed early so Steve could do a bit of reconnaissance, he watched through a holding area window.

Sure enough, the insane cows still had an issue with the parlor and ran right back out. By this time, I am expert at stopping cow chaos, I followed the crazies into the holding area and made sure they stayed inside. I did glance out the window when I heard, emanating from Husband's area, "What are you doing?"

"They already ran back outside!" I said emphatically.

I think Steve knew better than to reply at that moment.

As we helped Mitch move the remaining cows into the barn, I said to Steve, "So you mean to tell me I got out of bed for this, and you didn't even see what happened."

"No, I didn't see it, but tomorrow I am going to stand just around that corner," he said pointing to the northwest corner of the holding area.

I guess that means I have to get out of bed - again.

By golly, Steve better be on his toes so he can get some sort of bearing on what's causing our cows to run back out of the holding area and into oncoming traffic.

I am tired of getting up at 4:30.

Where is that T-shirt when I need it?

For questions, or comments, e-mail me at



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