Friday, April 1, 2011

Things I have learned about cows since moving to the country

Cows are not cows.  Cows are heifers, steers, bobby calves, rising two-year-olds, bulls and boners.

Cows do not moo.

Yes you read that right, cows do not go moo.

The closest you get to the traditional story-book moo is the cow (that is, the FEMALE) looking at you and shouting “mmmmMMMMMUUUUUUUUUURRRR!”.  If she is alone in her vocalizations, you can usually assume the cow is saying something like “hello two-legs, you’re standing on my lunch”.

If there is a herd of cows (or heifers as we have on our property once in a while) and they are all shouting “mmmmmmmMMMMMMUUUURRRR!” together, then one can deduce that they are saying “OI! Two-legs! There’s no grass left in this paddock, it’s all stalky rubbish.  Open that hole-in-the-fence thingy and let us out”

The fun really starts when you have a paddock of heifers and a bull across the creek in the next paddock.  It will continue with the usual “mmmmmMMMMMUUURRR!” from both sides for a while, then all of a sudden the bull will go ape-shit and start making noises not usually heard outside the chimp enclosure at the zoo.


I asked Tareka about that one day, and he said that the cows were “bulling”.  I nodded sagely and pretended I knew what he was talking about.  I later discovered that it meant the cows were on heat and ready to get jiggy with Big Mr B across the creek.

As a townie, I have never given a lot of thought to how dairying works.  I just figured that you hooked the cows up to the milking machine once a day and that was about it every day all year round.  I was very wrong.  Apparently you need to make more cows by getting the old ones pregnant, rather than buying new ones when the others get old and die.  Something about productivity and cost effective somesuch.

The cows “dry off” when they are pregnant, so are not milked for a couple of months before calving.  This is when most farmers go on holiday or move house.  Then all hell breaks loose around July when calving starts and milking properly begins once the calves have drunk all the colostrum and the cows are producing proper milk again.

This all means that Mummy-cow and Daddy-bull get together only once a year, and as you can imagine, Daddy-bull is a bit randy when the time comes.

So, I have translated “HOO HOOO HOOOOO! MmmmmMMMMmmUuuUUURRR! HOOOO HOOOO HOOO OOOOOooUURRRR mMMMMmmmMMM!M!MM!M! OOOOOOO  Urhg.” To mean something like

“Heeeeeey ladies!  Who wants some priiiime beef?  You like the look of my RUMP steaks?  Yeah ladies, that’s what I’m talking about! HEY TWO-LEGS! OPEN THE DAMN GATE!”


plaisanter said...

Very very very funny and true! I have helped my in-laws on their cattle ranch; what an experience for an ex-city-person. Unforgettable moments. You have a great visual sense of humour.
And I found you through Jenny the Bloggess!
You *are* famous.

Louise said...

Nancy, YAY ME! Cows are weird, but oh so tasty :)