Anger Management and the Black Angus
Despite our best practice we were forced to send one of our Black Angus cows to the saleyards. Suffering a third bout of footrot, she was kept in the hospital yard to undergo a course of antibiotic medicine for the infection. Unfortunately, by this stage, her sense of humour in accepting the five day treatment had evaporated.
The deal offered in the past consisted in her maintaining a relatively even temper, while we administered a quick shot of penicillin, in exchange for biscuits of lucerne hay, oaten chaff and a variety of breads. The terms on the two previous occasions were met and after her brief stay, the beef cow returned to her friends in the herd.
On this occasion, the Black Angus happily accepted our offerings to pacify her but she did not wish to avail herself to the injection part. The first day of treatment progressed normally. However, we were met with piercing black eyes, as we approached the yard on the second day. Once she locked eyes, she lowered her head and demonstrably pawed the ground with her front hoof. As we came closer to the yard, the by now snorting beast ran, or should I say charged, at the metal barriers.
Undeterred or being slow-learners, we tried a few more times and were met with the same unfriendly attitude. An experienced cattle man offered to help but he just managed to exit the yard by scaling the metal rungs of the fence before she charged at him.
‘Hmm, if she was one of mine, I’d put a bullet in her head,’ was his advice. ‘Otherwise, she’ll stir up her entire herd.’
So with reluctance we arranged for her to be collected by the livestock carrier several days later. Needless to say, this man remained on the outside of the fence and suggested in an authoritative tone, that bode no further argument, her presence was sought in the back of his truck. He is obviously a specialist in anger management, for the Black Angus cow sauntered up the cattle race and into the transport, without uttering a sound.