I woke up this morning thinking about something I’d seen a year ago at work.
I was framing a garage on the J. Johns farm that week.
Just to the east of the garage was a large pasture. Probably 75 to 10o acres. There was a small creek cutting diagonally through the pasture. If you were a cow, that would have been paradise. Steve Leytem (another farmer) had a small herd of beef cattle grazing the field. Once a day, he would stop by with a tractor and feed wagon, to supplement what they were getting off the field. He had 4 or 5 long wooden bunks in the middle of the field, as soon as the cattle could hear the tractor coming down the road they would head to the feed bunks. Cows are not stupid.
One morning when we arrived at the job, I noticed several gates set up close to the feed bunks…not all the way around mind you just on 2 sides. Cows can be skittish like that…..introduce something new in their environment, and they get nervous.
Steve dumped the feed into the bunks like normal, and within just a few minutes, the herd, overcame their fear of the gates, crowded up to the feed bunks and that was that.
Two days later I noticed more gates had been set up..this time they were on 3 sides of the feed bunks…
Same thing happened…when the cows heard the tractor coming down the road they got excited, ran over to the feed bunk area, but weren’t quite sure what to think of this new section of fence…eventually their desire for feed overcame their fear of the unknown and life was back to normal.
When we got to work two days later, there was an eerie silence in the field.
all of the cattle were gone.
They’d been loaded up.
I looked over @ the feed bunk area and it was completely surrounded by cattle fence…one last panel had swung open…to accommodate the cattle truck that had backed up to the enclosure.
The cows never saw it coming.
One minute they were free, the next, they were gone.
I’m tempted to tell you about the fences I see being set up right now in our country.
Not physical fences, mind you but just as real.
I can see them and want to stay as far away from them as I possibly can.
Problem is, most of the herd doesn’t seem to care.