How hard can it be to spray a cow?
Honestly, things have been going better than I ever imagined with the cows. Yesterday, they even came up to the gate to greet me and practically ate out of my hand. I have been in the pasture with them a dozen times and they are always gentle and curious.
And covered in flies.
They looked pretty annoyed by the flies. I mean, they don’t really make facial expressions, but they were stomping a lot. In my vast experience of five days, the stomping thing was new. I know I would be annoyed if I was covered in flies, so my keen discernment told me they were annoyed, combined with the stomping thing.
So I spent some time this morning trying to figure out how to handle cow fly control.
One method involves using bags filled with dust mounted on posts near their stock tank. No posts means no dust bags. Next.
Another method, and the longest lasting, is ear tags laced with insecticide. Um, no way I can shoot a tag through their ears. Next.
The last method I see is the spray form. Brilliant! No problem!
So the boys and I head on over to Tractor Supply where they now greet me by name. I head to the animal health section and pick up a big ‘ol bottle of cattle fly spray. I purchase a pump sprayer for the application and head back to the farm, very proud of my resourcefulness.
Andy decides the time is right for some cow watering. He grabs the filled sprayer, and I grab the bread bag. Andy walks confidently toward the cows armed and ready. I stare at him remembering that when I met him he was afraid of puppies. And now he is staring down a 1300 pound cow.
Just as we get close, Jenny sees the bread bag and quickens her pace towards us expecting a snack.
Then all heck breaks loose.
The two dogs, who have been perfectly fine around the cows all day, suddenly decide that the cows are way too close to Andy and I. Barking and snarling erupts around us, and the dogs begin pushing the cows back. The cows take off running to the back of the pasture. The dogs stop barking and look up at us with triumphant faces expecting praise for their good deed.
Cows can run faster than I thought.
Andy and I decide that we will go get the truck and he will ride in the bed with the sprayer. We all pile in the pick-up and head down pasture. We pull up beside Jenny first and she is happy to eat the bread while being only mildly concerned with being sprayed.
We move on to Clara who has been watching us just out of spray distance. For the next fifteen minutes, we chase Clara with the truck, engaging in drive-by fly control.
Humbly I must admit that I am no cow whisperer. The parting words of the farmer-man who dropped off the cows now ring in my ears.
“People always say cows are stupid, but in my experience they only say that right after a cow has out-smarted them.”