Mike and I woke up this morning to a light snow on the ground, blowing wind, and cold temps. We went out and began the morning chores and milking. I was milking Edy when Mike said, "I don't see Peanut. I am going to look for him." I think the words, "Oh crap" escaped from my lips. Peanut obviously went over the wire and was out gallivanting around somewhere.
We have two pastures for our cows. One of the pastures is fenced in very well with four strands of electric wire. The other pasture just has a single strand of electric wire. We have been playing "musical cows" recently with all the new calves and with the young heifers that I don't want bred and the cows that I do want bred. Anyway, in order to not mix company, Peanut had been put in the less secure pasture.
Mike went down the driveway and saw that Peanut had pooped in the driveway, a sure sign that he had run away from home toward the front of the house. Mike looked and could not find Peanut. When Mike came back and told me, I was really upset. I could just see my Miniature Jersey bull tearing down someone's fence, being hit by a car on the paved road, or breeding someone's prize Angus heifer! I think a few words other than "Oh crap!" escaped from my lips. I promptly felt remorseful and prayed a quick prayer that Peanut would not get into trouble.
I was close to finished with all the chores when my eye caught a lonely figure standing outside the "good" fence at the back of the house. Peanut stood there calmly chewing his cud. Now how did that crazy bull get on that side of the good fence when he had left the house down the driveway at the front of the house?
We determined that Peanut went down the driveway, across the hay fields, down the gravel road and then back into the woods.
(Remember the stray heifer that showed up at our house a few weeks ago? Well, when Mike went back to try to get the bull, he saw the heifer against the fence in heat. We don't share a fence line with these cattle. There is actually a strip of woods between us that is owned by someone else. Anyway, evidently Peanut was missing the runaway heifer and "knew" where she was. He was not able to get to her through the second fence, thank goodness.)
Next, Mike went down to the woods and began to herd Peanut back to the house. However, Peanut refused to turn back into our field and went on down through the woods and to another neighbor's house and then retraced his steps and ended up back of our place again. Mike yelled for me to come and help him. We tried again and Peanut went back up to the neighbor's fence line where the runaway heifer lives and then back down to our fence line again. This time, Mike was able to get him to walk the fence line and I was able to head him off and get him to go back into our field.
The next step was to get him from the hay field into the pasture. Instead of going through the gate, he continued out into the field and we walked him all the way down to our driveway. The plan was to walk him up our driveway and back into the front pasture until we could get him into the back pasture with the good fence. About the time he got several feet away from the driveway he turned and ran towards me. I jumped in front of him and turned him back. He thought about going up the driveway at that point but hesitated and turned and bolted again. This time, I knew he wasn't stopping and I jumped quickly out of the way. He out into the field and Mike ran after him. This time we started pushing him in the opposite direction back toward the gate we had tried to get him to enter originally when he came out of the woods. Mike had closed that gate so that the other cows wouldn't escape. I ran ahead to get the gate open and turned to find that Peanut was actually following me. He followed me down the length of the fence and walked into the gate just as pretty as you please!
I have to say I was extremely proud of Sadie, our Corgi, during this whole process. Although she has not been formally trained to herd, and although she is young and has a long way to go to be a "herd" dog , she did a great job of staying with us, working the bull and remaining calm and quiet when I told her to.
After all of that, my sciatic nerve problems have returned today and I am "limping" around trying to get the evening chores completed. Thank goodness I am going to the chiropractor on Thursday!