Years ago, my long time friend Leon was the king of his harem. He controlled the comings and goings of his ladies and he was always the head rooster. He has always went where he wanted to go and had eaten from any trough or bucket he had desired. This all changed with the arrival of Jack and Jennie.
Leon was my bull and Jack and Jennie are two donkeys I had bought several years ago. Leon had to stop interfering in everybody else’s feed bucket because Jack and Jennie had two very powerful weapons that kept Leon in line. Their back legs!
I have seen the two donkeys put Leon in his place several times. Now I guess if push ever came to shove Leon could make mince meat out of both of those donkeys, because he outweighs them by probably a thousand to twelve hundred pounds, but in every day functions like getting feed and water Jack and Jennie have first dibs.
One day several years ago, I arrived at the ranch and saw one of my young Brahman heifers had came up lame. She was all alone in the middle of the pasture as I drove up. All of the other cows always come rushing toward my truck when I drive up, but this poor cow was just standing in the field. I could tell right away that something was wrong as I saw her dragging her left front leg. She was a pitiful sight. She had become drawn up and her overall condition had deteriorated. She had a real big knot on the shoulder area of her leg about the size of a grapefruit.
I can’t stand to see an animal suffer and once a cow gets hurt they are hard to nurse back to health. Cattle have been around in some form or fashion millions of years and we have made them into some tender fluff ball that has to be taken care of. By nature cattle are tough, but it still bothers me to see any animal lame or hurt. I knew that my work plans for the day were about to change, as this cow needed some immediate assistance.
After coaxing her to the pen with a bucket of feed I examined the knot on her shoulder. It was very tender to her and it appeared to me she had been hit with something. It was only a couple of days later, after talking to a friend, did he suggest she probably got kicked by Jack or Jennie. After further examination I tend to agree. The size and location of the knot coincides with the donkey’s ability.
I got her loaded into the trailer and knew I had to bring her home for a little R&R. The ranch is about an hours drive for me and I knew I could not give her first hand attention unless I had her near my home.
Bringing animals back to my house in Hufsmith has normally been a problem. I’m just not equipped for taking care of them here anymore and the fencing is not adequate for cattle. The last time I had Leon here at the house when he was young almost turned disastrous. Leon got out one night and if my neighbor, David Ware had not been around, Leon may have been road kill. David and another man, whom I have not met, chased Leon to my home and I wound up keeping Leon in my backyard for several days. Leon loved the swimming pool.
I knew that bringing this heifer back home was going to be trouble, but it was my only choice, short of selling her on the spot. I decided taking care of her for a while would be my first effort. I had no hay at home, no feed and no pens, but I knew this is what I had to do. I loaded up a round bale of hay on the front of my trailer. I placed my four-wheeler in the middle and put the cattle cage on the back with the heifer loaded inside.
Some of you may be wondering what is a cattle cage? Many years ago my dad built a pipe cage that can be loaded by one person on any trailer you want. This saves the need for multiple trailers. You load the cage, tie it down and away you go. The guys at the auction barn still get a kick out of his invention. Just last week I had a man walk around the trailer several times shaking his head while smiling and said he should have thought about that idea. It’s a very practical piece of farm equipment. Thanks dad!
As I drove home from Brenham with my load, I began to wonder what trouble is ahead for me. As I mentioned earlier, bringing cattle home to Hufsmith has never brought good results for me.