Midnight Muster

We were woken up in the middle of the night by the sound of a bull roaring. Big Boy, our jersey bull was calling over and over. We tried to turn over and drown him out but it wasn’t working, so Dominic and I got out of bed, put on our boots and headed down the drive to see what was going on.  Big Boy was at the western fence calling out into the night. We looked…nothing there…stupid animal…. looked again…what was that? That, was a small herd of cows that were making their way towards the house into an unfenced area. Not so stupid animal after all. We have found since then that in our experience, (which is not very extensive but has been rather intensive), that if the cattle are making a noise there is a reason, just because we can’t understand that reason doesn’t mean there is none.

Luckily it was close to a full moon, so we could see fairly well where we were going, and starting with that small group, with Dominic calling them from the front and me following behind we started to walk them towards the cattle yards. A local farmer friend from down the road had been teaching us low-stress cattle handling techniques and it was due to his lessons that we were able to muster the cattle back to safety.

After about a half an hour I realized that I was tromping through tall grass up to my knees, in steel capped boots and only my summer dressing gown, with no care or fear of encountering snakes or any other nocturnal creature. This was a first for me. I am not fond of snakes and easily startled when in long grass and especially at night.

After securing about 30 animals in the yards we set off looking for the rest. We ended up finding them close to our front gate (1km from the house) seemingly settled for the night.  We decided to leave them there and found a workable track to run a temporary electric fence to confine them, and allow us to relax and go back to bed. The next day we joined the two groups back together and investigated the escape. We found that the electric braid that was holding them in wasn’t very hot and combined with more luscious feed on the other side of the fence, it was a recipe for mishap.

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