When we last saw her, she was heading over the rise, back to her comfort zone in the woods by the lake. She kept coming back though. We did this for about a week. One night we (the neighbor's 13 year old daughter and I) put the hay and corn silage in my front pasture, and opened up the fence where she would walk by. We hid by the house to see what she would do. She walked right in and began eating.
We slowly began making our way across my yard, over the driveway, through the garden, to get to the opening in the fence. Hint of the day: Barn boots, especially slightly large, ill-fitting barn boots, are not good for stealth, or speed.
In other words, she spotted us, and ran for the opening. Miracle of miracles, we got there first. She turned away, and began running the fenceline, looking for a way out. The calf followed, bawling.
Another hint of the day: Fencing which is perfectly adequate for llamas and alpacas, is not for very scared, half wild, used to fending for herself Herefords.
She half-jumped, half-tore down a section of fence. The calf however, could not jump it. So now we have a crazed Hereford on the outside, and a bawling calf on the inside. Holy crap, now what?
Luckily, the neighbor had arrived just in time to see our mad dash across the garden. We reconnoitered. We knew mama wasn't going to go anywhere without her baby. We knew baby couldn't get out, so figured we had some time. She went home, took down their round pen constructed of heavy cattle panels, loaded them in her truck, and came back, this time with husband, and a lasso and a small halter.
We reconstructed the round pen in the middle of my pasture. Then we herded the calf into the round pen, caught it, and haltered and tied it to the round pen. That makes it sound easy. Believe me, it wasn't. In the meantime, of course the calf was bawling like we were murdering it, mama was running the fenceline mooing back, outraged. The neighbor and I headed back to the opening in the fence, to re-open it so the cow could come back in the pasture. We needn't have bothered. She finally just jumped/barreled through the fence again. The husband and daughter sought safety by jumping up on the cattle panels.
Let's review the situation. We now had a calf tied on the inside of the round pen, a very angry cow on the outside, a 54 year old man and a 13 year old girl stranded on the cattle panels, and a 38 and a 41 year old woman standing 40 feet away by the fence, saying, nope, uh uh, no way are we going near that cow, and we couldn't get her to figure out where the opening to the round pen was so she could get to her calf.
I don't even remember how we managed to finally get her on the inside of the pen, but we did, swung the gate shut and untied the calf. We all high-fived each other, thinking, oh, piece of cake right?
Of course not! The cow set her head to those panels, and proceeded to push the whole thing! The whole round pen was moving, straightening out into a roughly rectangular shape as she kept pushing. We were afraid that the pins wouldn't hold as the angles changed, but they did. She just kept pushing until she ran into a corner of my fence, and then she pushed on another side until she ran into the other side of my fence, but she did manage to bend the heck out of the steel fence posts I had. Luckily I had a pile of fence posts and the post driver nearby, so we just pounded posts in all of the corners, (it was a rectangle now) and she finally understood that she couldn't get anywhere and stopped pushing. We brought her hay and silage and water, and just left her alone to settle down.
Whew! That's enough of the story for today. More next time. This saga isn't even half way done, I told you it was a long story!
First, a quick Mom story then some photos of the cow and calf.
Last night we were sitting on the couch, Mom on one side, me on the other, and a dog in the middle. I was weaving in the ends of the bag I have been working on, and had made a little pile of yarn snippets next to me, most two to three inches, but one several inches long. Mom reached over and grabbed them. She looked at them for a while, and then she threw them at me. They landed on my head, the long one sort of dangling down the front of my face. I slowly turned my head to her, so she could see the one dangling. She laughed so hard, which then set me off. I grabbed them off my head and threw them back at her, and so it went the rest of the night. Every time another end got snipped off, it would go flying at her. She would laugh and send it back my way. By the end of the night we had yarn everywhere, but who cares?