You would think that after farming for 10 or so years nothing would come as a surprise, however you could farm for 110 years and you still would not have seen it all.
Here's a yarn that will raise the hairs on the back of your neck (especially if you work for ACC).
It all started innocently enough.
I went to get the cows in for morning milking. Accompanied by the old faithful hounds, Keidis and Flea and Rush, all seemed normal. One of the milkers had calved. Classic example of a stuff-up - apparently I had been happily milking this hold-over cow that hadn't actually calved yet. Note to self: pay more attention.
This cow had unfortunately had her calf in a drain and because of the wet weather the poor wee thing was up to its neck in muddy water and too weak and newly born to clamber out. The mum was really upset, especially as the dogs approached her.
I jumped off the bike keen to dive into the drain and drag the calf out for her. But it dawned on me that this mum was really hypo, alternately bellowing and charging the dogs then trampling her own calf deeper into the mud. I had to take a strategic approach, thinking I could run in when she was distracted by the dogs, rescue the calf and then run back to the relative safety of the bike.
She would have none of that and started charging at me with no regard to the fact that I am the human in charge of this place.
I've never really been frightened of a cow before but I grabbed a fencing standard so I would have a bit of a weapon in my defence - that usually makes them back off.
The peaceful morning had turned scary.
Things were looking really bad for the calf now as it was drowning and trampled and in need of immediate rescue. But the Psycho Killer Cow would not let me get anywhere near it and was now focusing all her aggression on to me. I was yelling at her to get back and brandishing my puny standard, the dogs were hyped up, things were out of hand. Finally she fully charged me and knocked me clean off my feet, arse down, into the drain. I had to scramble for my life and run, run, run . . . back to the bike. It was not worth risking life and limb just to save the calf . . . so I retreated and went and milked. Poor calf.
Post-milking I ditched the dogs and went back to clean up the mess. Happily the calf was still alive but a prime candidate for hypothermia. Mum had toned it down a notch or two, mainly because the dogs weren't there but she was still highly agitated.
How was I going to approach this single-handedly?
What would you do?
I figured that if she wasn't scared of me or the dogs then the only weapon left in my arsenal was electricity. I set up a temporary electric fence which she respected and fenced her off from the calf long enough to drag it out alive.
I easily separated the calf and Mum before the afternoon milking but when I got her in she turned on me, knocking me to the ground again, because now she knows she can. The same cow waited for me after milking and chased me in the dark with her evil moo. Psycho Killer Cow has definitely got it in for me, so I am watching my back.
- © Fairfax NZ News