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Cows at the gate

Cows at the gate

Rampaging cattle! Well, more like, a few cows wandering into the field. This happened once before, three years back, and that time, the potential for disaster was a little greater. Unthinkably, TWO critical gates had been left open overnight, and around a dozen cows headed in at dawn. It was also around June, with a whole market garden full of new crops, there to be ravaged. Just by chance, the intruders were spotted early, and it took three sleepy people, lots of running, and a pick-up truck, to head ’em out (it’s a 9 acre field). Luckily, the cows were most interested in the hay, on the way there trailing giant hoof prints down just about every bed in the garden, leaving the veggies otherwise untouched. So it turned out fine. This time, with most of the cattle gone from the farm, the remaining little posse of five cows and a bull, all friendly and laid back, made their way up an 11 acre pasture and slipped through the garden field gate in the four or five minutes when my eye wasn’t out there. I’d been using the Kubota compact tractor to move manure from the barnyard, about a dozen trips, with a few minutes of blind time each trip as I spread on the new garlic bed. Crafty, stealthy guys… There was a moment of sharp…concern as I eyed the wide open double gate across the field, leading to the side road and on to unfenced houses on the subdivision, and the wide open two-lane highway not far down. But the cows were absolutely fixated on the first lush patch of oats they encountered. With the other gates closed, herding them out went surprisingly smoothly. The whole adventure: 20 minutes! An interesting break…



  1. Mike, are these your cows or a neighbors? I’d like to know what breed they are because they look smaller than most of the “standard” breeds.

  2. Hey, Amanda: Those are Bob’s cows, so, not mine, but kept on the farm. I’m told they’re Hereford-Red Holstein crosses, and the bull’s a Charolais-Angus cross. There used to be up to 40 cows and calves until a couple of years ago, but most were mostly sold off after beef prices plummeted with the BSE scare. They are quite small compared to some other breeds and crosses. Speaking of small, I recently heard about Dexter cattle, they sound really excellent for small-scale farming! I want some tiny cattle! :)

  3. Sheri

    My friends in CA have a Dexter cow…in their back yard! OK, their back yard is about 3/4 of an acre but she’s in there amongst the apple trees and veggies. They artificially inseminated her and she had a calf which they gave away and she produced copious amounts of milk. Enough for the calf, the family of 5 to drink all the milk they wanted, make yogurt and cheese and still there was too much to even give away. Finally they told her she didn’t have to produce so much; I’m not sure if this worked or not.

  4. I have two Dexters and I love them I have a third coming in a few weeks! we are practicing grass farming and I they are easy keepers … clare

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