Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Big Man Strays

Big Man, a Mexican bull, spends part of his summer in a field at 7th Ranch. He lives there with a small herd of Mexican cows. Apparently on Sunday Big Man was bored with his own herd of cows. When he spotted a group of attractive Black Angus ladies, he went through or over or under the fence to join the other herd.

That didn’t please Chip, owner of 7th Ranch. So he and Ron saddled up their horses, deciding to move the whole bunch of cattle—Big Man and the Black Angus ladies—down to the parking lot, then into the corral, where Big Man could be separated and held. That meant opening a gate to let the herd out of their pasture, driving them down a hill to an opening in the fence around the parking lot, persuading them to cross the parking lot and move into the corral. Since the parking lot has several avenues of escape, a number of vehicles were moved in to close the gaps.

Last year we watched a cattle roundup while we were volunteering at White River Wildlife Area in Oregon. There we watched at least five or six people on horseback yell, wave their hats and charge their horses to move the cows. Chip and Ron took a very different approach. They moved slowly, talked softly. I heard Chip say, “Come on ladies. There’s the gate. Go through it.” “It’s OK. You can go right there.” Ron said, “Go, cows.”

It didn’t take too long to get all the animals into the corral. Next, Chip and Ron moved Big Man and a couple of the Black Angus toward a pen. The next task was to get the cows and calf out and leave just Big Man. Finally, he was penned in alone.

Next, they herded the cows and calves out of the corral, back across the parking lot and up the hill to their own field. It didn’t take the cows long to realize where they were headed. They were happy to be back home.

Later in the afternoon Big Man was loaded in a trailer and taken to another rancher’s field. He should have been content to stay with his own ladies, rather than having a roaming eye. He wouldn’t have had to go through the trailer trip so soon, if he had been a good boy.

I have put photos of the cattle drive into a slide show, so you can see how everything went.


  1. Carol,
    Like you, when I saw a cattle roundup, the guys didn't whoop and holler like you see them do on TV. Like Chip, they just talked to the herd and let the dogs do most of the work. I remember I was quite interested in how it was done since we are "city slickers" without a clue.

    Hope your workamping stint is going well. Great pictures of the birds too!

    Connie and Art

  2. Every Fall my neighbour to the west herds his cattle past my front doordown from where he grazed them all summer on a field down the road to the east. Invariably it does not always go well.

    I had a friend who had his bull get out and into a neighbour's pure bred herd. Rather than getting sued by the owner, the owner just quietly shipped all his cows who might have been contaminated by a grade bull.

    Here one must control bulls over 10 months. Otherwise range law rules. Cattle can roam. i.e. if you do not want my cattle in your garden. . .fence your garden. Many an argument I had with the city raised neighbours and police.

  3. I think you should have captioned this one "The Cow Whisperers!"