I went out yesterday evening just before dark to give the cows their evening alfalfa. I called “Caaaaf – Caaaaf!” and waited but no cows appeared. They like to go down into the woods sometimes, so it takes them a while to get back up. But it was getting dark, and for me, given the steep gullies and dead fall of trees and tree parts, even with a good light going into the woods after dark is an iffy proposition.
So I said “fooey” on them and resolved to find them this AM.
I went up the hill this AM and checked – nope. They hadn’t snuck up and eaten the alfalfa during the night or early morning. So I called them and called them – but no cows appeared.
So now it’s daylight. Cows that do not appear when there is cow food waiting for them is a cause for concern – ie the cows, dead or alive, must be found.
I headed for the woods, going down the lane – following their favorite route, and calling occasionally. Then looking across the orchard I spotted them. They had gone down the hill into the woods, got on the South side of the lane, and come up through the back side (West) of the orchard fence and were on the wrong side of it in a corner and couldn’t figure out how to get around it.
So I opened the fence (we used cattle panels to build the fence) and let them through, and then just left the fence open as there is some really nice grass over there and I figured if they’re going to go there anyway, I might as well make it easier – on me.
How good was the grass? I called them, and I only call them when there is either alfalfa or corn for them. If anyone gets between them and their alfalfa or corn, they will run around them to get to it! (I sometimes wonder if they aren’t really pigs in disguise – ie guts on hooves.) But even knowing that there was feed up the hill, they were frantically grabbing mouthfuls of grass as they walked. Once through the fence, I got out of the way and they ran up the hill, kicking up their hooves and acting like kids at a birthday party.