This is Lilly. She’s One of our Galloway cows. She’s always had a little bit of a temper.
Maybe it’s because she plays second fiddle to our boss cow Lucy or maybe it’s because she doesn’t like the number in her ear tag. Or perhaps she’s a bit frustrated because she can’t speak English despite her best efforts. Whatever the reason may be, she’s never been one to enjoy affection. Her first born Luke is like a giant, mooing puppy. He loves to be scratched and loved on. But Lilly? Oh no, don’t you dare try and touch her unless you are looking for a serious head shake in response. That’s really it’s all ever been, even in the closest quarters and most stressful situations, just a head shake.
But look at her. Looking like that? C’mon, can you really blame me for trying to push the envelope every now and then by trying to get a scratch in? Don’t tell me you wouldn’t do the same. Boss cow Lucy loves a good scratch when she has a full belly. This is significant because Lucy and Lilly came to us at the same time and are the same age. Lilly was fine when she gave birth to Luke right in front of us. She was even fine when we, the new cow owners (cowboy/cowgirl/cowfamily seem to be the wrong terms) ran over to the new, slimy, and adorable calf when she was standing there like is it over? What do I do now?” and made sure he got up and nursed, filling his belly with colostrum, the golden nectar of life.
This time was apparently different. We had AI’d (artificially inseminated) her previously in the summer which didn’t take. We don’t have a bull and nobody in our area has a Galloway bull to rent so this is what we have to do until we can justify buying a bull for purebred calves. Since we are building up our herd numbers, this is important to us. Anyway, after many months of scheduling issues the stars finally aligned and Jen, our AI tech, her daughter, and I were standing in the field on a rainy December Sunday. Despite Lilly’s best efforts, we managed to finally get her into a make shift chute to breed her. Whatever the reason, she was absolutely determined this was NOT happening. No means no I suppose.
See, since she was not standing still to be bred, we (mostly me) thought it was a good idea to put a halter on her and tie her to the post so we could keep her in place long enough. This was apparently strike 3 in her eyes because she decided she was done and done now.
Did you know cows can climb? Neither did I. Suddenly I was face to belly with what I momentarily mistook to be a monkey in a really, really convincing cow costume. It even smelled like a cow. “Surely this wild, climbing creature could not be my not-so-sweet Lilly could it? I must have grabbed the wrong animal, but there is a noticeable lack of bananas and I’m fairly certain most monkeys are already south for the winter by now…” My thinking was interrupted by flailing hooves which I dodged like Rocky in the first round. Oh no, this was DEFINITELY Lilly, no mistaking that attitude. Alcatraz could not have held this cow. Luckily the boards serving as the gate held just long enough for me to push her back, drop the halter rope, and get out of the way, otherwise I would have been crushed like a beer can at a frat party.
The final score that night:
- Lilly – 437 (thereabouts, I stopped counting)
- Team AI – 0
Suddenly the idea of having a neighbor’s visiting bull push down the fences to meet our cows sounded nice. That’s what happened last year. Looks like a squeeze chute just made the shopping list.
Never a dull moment.