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May 25, 2011

The Runaway

Last fall we bought a dairy shorthorn calf, and named him Chuck, as in Roast.

Chuck has grown and grown and grown. When he outgrew his little pen he took over residence of the back goat pen. Last week he realized that the empty pen next to his (empty because we are redoing fences) had knee-high weeds, so he forced his way under that fence and mowed the weeds for me.

Of course he couldn't get back into his pen after his snack. Moving him consisted of feeding the buck goats and closing them into their shed, then opening the gate between their pen and the pen where Chuck was "stuck", and then opening the gate into the back pen where Chuck usually spends his days.

This past weekend, Chuck went through the fence on the other side of his pen, which meant he was loose in the woods. Hubby cut the fence open so we could coax him back in, but Chuck was having none of that, he'd eaten enough lush grass that he wasn't interested in a bucket of grain, and he'd had a taste of freedom and wasn't going to give that up. He'd packed his bags and was headed for the busstop.

Two hours later, the three of us had been all over the woods, the hayfield, the pond. Herding him didn't work. Coaxing him didn't work. We couldn't get close enough to catch him. Hubby and I were tired!

Fortunately, Chuck was tired too by now. He finally let me walk right up to him, scratch under his neck, and slide a rope over his neck. Hubby pulled while I pushed - yes, Chuck is halter broken but he was particularly uncooperative that night - and we moved him into the horses' pasture. It had been our plan all along to put him in this field when he was big enough to hold his own with the horses, and really it was time to open his gate and let him out with them - he'd taken matters into his own hands hooves.

Now that a few days have gone by, Chuck and the horses are coexisting well. One of his favorite spots is the very corner of the pasture, in the sand plum thicket, where he takes a nap or chews his cud in the afternoon.

I'm working hard on keeping him tame enough that I can pet him and put a rope around his neck and put his halter on. Chuck's ultimate destination is our freezer via the local butcher, so we need to be able to move him around.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful post! Praise the Lord for letting you catch him! Our calf got loose once, but she only weighed 250-300lbs at the time, and the Lord blessed us to catch her quickly!


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