Moving the cattle

Most people thinking farming is about milking cows if you are a dairy, sheep , beef or cropping. One gets up everyday (early) to bring the cows in to milk or to get on a tractor and sow crop, reap or harvest crop sell it and make money. With sheep and cattle you just birth them and sell them off for meat, very little thought is given to the process and to the hours of work and skill required to do any of the above jobs.

On the TV we see farmers in “cowboy hats” riding horses, driving utes, mustering in helicopters, on foot and on motorbikes, it looks so inviting. There is always the working dog running around looking like it’s seemlessly and intuitively working the mobs and being part of the teams. They just push the animals along and they move to where they want them to go. The scenery (when not in drought) looks green and there’s red dirt, brown dirt, sand and grass. It looks inviting and it looks like easy work for those doing the muster and the bulk of the footage is soundless or narrated over.

There is a reason why there is no sound,  not only would you hear the sounds of cattle, you would hear lots of swearing farmers and workers, there would be shouting / swearing at dogs, horses, the cattle and anyone or anything in the nearest vicinity. Loudly and often, it really is a stressful job, to move a mob of cattle be it 2, 10, 100 or more takes a great deal of skill and patience. One does not want to push them too fast – they will run and froth at the mouth and become distressed too quickly. One does not want to split them up if they are in groups as they like to travel in groups much like families, you do not want to mis-mother, meaning if the cow has a calf and they get separated both become distressed and will turned back to look for each other or worse move on and leave it behind.

I have had a knock at the door during the writing of this and I have been told 2 of our animals (steers) have found themselves 10km up the road in another property, they don’t have cattle and as we do they have come knocking to see if we can come and push them back. This may well take me the rest of the day to get them back here. I shall video part of my journey for you and place it on this post. My day started with calls and emails following up orders and now leads to following cattle back up the road to home.

These are some of the other rogues – wandering into the front yard with that look of “nothing to see here”despite leaving 2 behind.

nothing to see here

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