Riding Herd

This week we moved the cattle from the front of the farm to the back end, about a half mile.  Rachel does most of the summer day-to-day cowgirl work and I help with the big moves and roundups.

Moving the cattle doesn’t involve much of the TV tropes of whip-cracking and shouting.  Not even a “yippie-kay-yay.”  We’ve learned that moving cattle can be done without much drama, either on foot or gently motoring behind them on the ATV.  The most important parts are (unsurprisingly) thorough planning beforehand and calm, purposefulness during the move.  Cattle have a deep instinct to migrate in herds and recognizing this helps us consider the flow dynamics of the group.  Some gateway shapes cause them to slow down, some changes in direction cause them to spread out.  Over the years we’ve learned how cattle react, and I suppose we’ve learned how we react, so most of the time the cattle go where we want them to go.  Most of the time…

After turning into a wider part of the lane the cattle slowed down and a few turned around to start munching grass. Rachel hopped off the ATV to hold them back while I closed off a temporary gateway behind us.

Movement is one of the key things that makes Wrong Direction Farm unique. Our farm is always on the move. Nothing stays in the same place because in nature nothing is static. We’re always looking for ways to keep our animals on the best grass.

And the herd is off down the last straight away before turning into their new pasture.

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