Skip to main content

Bessie and Bertha

have been sold.

When we purchased the three Angus calves, we got one steer to butcher and two heifers to breed.  Over the fall and winter the steer, Ribeye, has become very tame even letting us scratch him behind the ears and rub his back.  The sweet guy doesn't know he's going to be steak.  The heifers however have been more stand-off-ish.  The deciding factor to not keep them to breed came last week when they made a break for it.  Literally, they broke through the wooden fence. 

My mother-in-law called us at work and announced they were out on the road in front of our property.  Now, this is not a country road.  We live in city limits and only 1/2 mile off a main expressway.  Cars were trying to go around while the cattle were running free.  Running wild, the horses wanted to round them up, especially Bobbie and D who were sorting and penning horses before they came to our farm.

We got home faster than ever to find sweet, petite Nana wielding a long 2x2 board like a samurai warrior while Papaw was herding them back to the pasture with his truck.  I've never seen that side of my mother-in-law. It was scary.  No time to take a picture (I wish I had) but the sight will forever be etched in my mind.  Once safely back we fixed the fence.  The next day they did it again but this time we were standing there with the horses so they didn't get loose. 

The cows are simply sticking their heads through the fence to get to the grass on the other side but when they lean their weight on the fence any boards that have large knots pop in half.  I'm not sure what we are going to do about this.  For now, we are keeping the entrance gates closed so if they do get out, they can't go very far.  Let's hope they are too wide to get into the flower or vegetable gardens!

Since we don't need to butcher all three, we sold the heifers yesterday "on the hoof".  And we are trying to figure out just how much Ribeye weighs so we can determine when it's time for him to be wrapped in paper packages.  Since we are new to this we have no idea how much the big boy weighs.  Probably he will go with the pigs at the beginning of next month whether he is ready or not. 

Raising farm animals is challenging sometimes, actually, most of the time.


  1. Never fun to get that call. We had a jersey cow that would run to the gate when you were opening it to get off the property. You always had to be on guard. Exhausting...that is what having farm animals is, but yet so rewarding.

  2. I would agree that it is most of the time. Maybe you can install and electric fence wire, that works. Good old Ribeye, maybe he need to be a pet since he was such a good boy! ;D

  3. Ack, that's my worst nightmare! Your description of your mother-in-law made me giggle, but I'm sure it was deadly serious at the time.

    I forget, do you have a hotwire (or two) installed inside your fencing? That's a good detriment (and if they aren't acquainted in the future, hanging a tin pie plate from the wire with a piece of wire gives a curious bovine nose a good target...although I've led halter-broke animals to the wire directly and that worked, too). On another note, I've always heard Angus are notorious for bad behaviors and fence-breaking, particularly, so perhaps a mellower breed might be better in the future.

  4. Interesting post but not the greatest of days for you! Certainly a great perspective for a 'cow dreamer' like me. : )


  5. oh, i'm cringing at the thought of your mellow steer... but i know that's reality and i eat meat - i just never raise it for myself...

    :) glad you were able to sell the heifers before they got hurt or hurt someone else.

  6. I can relate to how awful it is to have your animals escape and cause you whole day to change. Glad no one was hurt. AND glad you had such great help.

  7. yes, challenging all the time! i can just picture your MIL out there ~ i've had to do things i never dreamed i would :)

  8. My grandad was a I know just how time consuming and challenging it is raising farm animals! I am so glad no one was hurt on that busy road..animal or human.

  9. Naughty heifers! Heifers are notoriously bad, they're just so curious about everything and they're always finding ways to get into trouble!

    I second the electric fence! You can get long instulators so the hot wire is off the board fence about 6". That way they can never even get to the rails.

  10. My husband and I raised cattle for many years. Barb wire and electric fencing become your best bet to keep cattle where they belong. Our farm is out in the country yet it is a sickening feeling to get the call that your cattle are out. Have chased cattle many of time in my life.

  11. It's lovely to hear of your day-to-day 'real' life on the farm. I sounds lovely, being with the animals....but obviously hard work too.


  12. Electric fence is your best friend.What happens even if it is shut down for awhile..they are so used to it being on they still won't go near the fence.I have seen horses...with it totally gone..not go near the fence like it is still there.

    Thank goodness no one hit the cows and no one got hurt.

    Cindy from Rick-Rack and Gingham

  13. I just happened to stumble across your website from somewhere else, I believe Backyard Chickens. Everything on it is great, and I am spending some time getting up to speed.

    How did you decide to do a steer? I have moved from Phoenix, AZ to rural Virginia after 19 years and now have a few acres and have my chickens and guineas. I get my bees next weekend. I want to do a steer for meat, but not sure how to start. I have a horse pasture on my property which is a couple acres, and would like to put it in there. I was told that if you put a single electric wire on the inside of the wood fence, that will keep them off the fence and they won't lean on it and break through. Any information/direction you can point me would be appreciated.

    Thanks so much.


Post a Comment

So what do you think of that?