Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sister Act, Part II

And then it was little Jan's turn. The difference between the sisters was quite interesting. With Sybil, being her first time on cattle, you could tell that she wasn't quite selling herself to the heifers. With Jan, the moment she got near them, they knew this wasn't any novice cow dog; this one had worked with much bigger, nastier bovines than they and knew how to make them mind. Jan's been working Don's momma cows, calves and the bull since she was a young pup, took a few months off to recover from the tractor accident, then went right back to work. On Monday afternoon, she and Don were moving the pairs back up to the barn from the far west pasture. Jan was moving things along nicely, when she suddenly left to go up a small hill. Don had no idea what the heck, thought she might be after a deer or something, when she reappeared - with a lone momma cow running ahead of her. How she knew that momma cow was up there by herself, well, she just knew and Don was really surprised but obviously quite pleased. The cow joined her pals, and they finished up the drive to the barn without incident. We joke that Jan is contributing to the unemployment rate around here, as Don no longer needs his two helpers to move the cows. Jan put them both out of a job. Sorry 'bout that, guys.

But, now Don wants to learn how to better manage her when she's working for him, so he and Dave spent their time with Jan and the baby bovines well. Again, all on lead excepting the one incident where Jan's collar broke. Dave wasn't having a lot of luck with collars and leads on Tuesday, not out here anyway. But, after making sure the three heifers understood she meant business, she too called off, got a lead fix, and went back to work. The heifers stuck together much better for Jan, as she absolutely sold them on the fact that she knew what she was doing and had no qualms about proving it. It was great to watch her learn, just as Sybil had, what Dave was asking of her and how well she complied with his wishes. It was getting dark by then so I didn't get many shots that turned out, but enjoy the slideshow with the ones I did.

Jan, ready to go home and practice on her own cows

Don and Dave confer while Jan shows Hilda who really is the boss here (hint - it wouldn't be a big, black heifer calf)

The heifers are all ears and eyes as Jan starts her first walkup on them

Run! Run! Run for your lives!! Interesting note - you can tell exactly where a cow's attention is focused by where their ears are pointed. Liza's ears - straight back towards the little red dog

Grouped nicely and headed for the gate

Still at a nice, easy walk. Dave is working the heifers back and forth on the short side of the fence, letting Jan work from behind, then go to the heads and turn them nicely, something that both Jan and Sybil need work with, as neither is all that comfortable with going to head. Unlike mom and dad, both of whom are strong headers on cattle. Interesting, that

Aren't those clouds awesome? And oh yah, Jan and Dave do a nice job turning the heifers as a group at the gate while Don watches. He's not aware that he's making Jan's job a bit difficult standing where he is. You can see Joy (the silver heifer closest to Don) kinda giving him the eye

There's those clouds again. Got Don to move back a bit and let Jan do some work without his help

Nicely done, and still walking quietly

At the end of the day, it's all about who is the cutest - Jan or the bovine babies. Hmmmm, that's a hard one; Liza's awful cute herself. Nah, gotta be Jan - just look at those eyes!

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