Taking The Cows For A Walk
Last week we had some fun and excitement on the farm......
Haha maybe only a rotational grazing enthusiast would think this was fun but I sure did!
We took our cows for a walk down the road
About 70 cows took part on a leisurely stroll about 1.5 miles down the road.
Well we have several properties that don't touch each other. So when we rotationally graze the cattle and sheep we often have to cross the road for a short distance to get to a new field.
Alternatively we have to load the animals on a trailer and haul them. Its not terrible but it is very time consuming and in the summer its a hot ride ☀️
However, the farm Mariah and I live on (the Muschaney Farm) is the furthest away. It is just over 1.5 miles down blacktop to my families next closest farm (The Finley Farm). Because of this we almost always just put the animals on the trailer to move them between these farms.
Late last week though we needed to move our cow herd from the Finley farm to the Muschaney farm and my parents were out of town delivering some cattle with the trailer.
The weather was perfect though, not too hot and cloudy with a breeze, and it was a Saturday afternoon so not much traffic.
So I decided to do something we had not done in 8 years!
Walk the cows from the Finley farm to the Muschaney farm.
I actually really enjoy walking the cows down the road instead of hauling them with a trailer. Its much more relaxing and just feels like a good old fashioned cattle drive or something.
However this walk in particular is a lot of work as there is almost no fence along the roads.
But I had good help from our team that Saturday (Shane and Daniel graciously changed their Saturday afternoon plans to help). We all jumped to it put up over 2 miles of portable fencing to make sure our cows stayed on the road and didn't do any sight seeing in the neighbors yards or corn fields.
Thankfully we have some very understanding neighbors who let us block off their driveways for over an hour :)
We started the journey with a leisurely stroll down an old farm road.
Our cows are very used to following us when we call them and they happily complied.
Things got a little more interesting when we hit the first gravel road though. The cows were quite surprised to be off the farm (most had never stepped foot on this road and the few older ones who had, had only done it once).
After standing on the road just looking at me like I was crazy for a few minutes. They finally decided they would follow their crazed farmer :)
By the time we reached the blacktop road they were champs. Admittedly they were getting a little tired and didn't set any land speed records but they marched right along.
You can see in this picture just how well behaved our cows are. There is no fence at all on the right. You can barely make out a white line that is our portable electric fence (that wasn't even on).
Because we move our cows so often they are extremely gentle. They know and trust that we are taking them somewhere good and so they follow even when things are really different than they are used to.
One of our neighbors (and good friends) snapped this picture (and a video) as our cows prepared to walk past their yard. They brought their two young boys out to watch the parade and they had a blast.
All in all it was a great time. Several people who happened to be driving by stopped to watch and one old friend jumped in and helped.
Just after the neighbors yard the cows climbed the last hill and turned through our gates into some lush pasture. They were excited to have finally arrived (some of the older cows got excited and recognized the farm when we were getting close) and dove into grazing.
Myself, Shane, and Daniel quickly rolled up all the portable fencing and then called it a day.
It was a very tiring but very rewarding afternoon. Eight years in the making this move left we thinking I should do it a few times a year.