After reading about Beetleypete’s thoughts about walking his dog through a field of cows it brought my mind back to growing up in America’s Dairyland. We have them here in Colorado, too. They can be dangerous but a lot of times they are merely being curious which can be just as bad. Cows often equate people with food. Oh, not like that, silly, cows don’t even have any top teeth. No, a human presence usually means food is coming and they will gather around you. We broke down by a field out east once and when I got out of the car to call someone for help, a herd of longhorns started walking toward the fence and some started leaning on it. I didn’t want to cause any trouble by them breaking out or by them giving me some real car trouble so I got back in the car.
Cows are temperamental on occasion as well. My uncle had dogs on his dairy farm but didn’t let them out in the field where the cows were. “A kick from a cow will kill a dog, Herby.” So Pete was right to be concerned. Cows are like any other critter in that, depending on the breed and individual, they can sometimes be ornery. They can also step on your foot and if you’re not wearing proper foot wear, break several bones in your foot.
One of the great things about cows and other herd animals though is that they are almost invariably creatures of habit. Once there is a routine established it is very easy to keep them going on doing the same things bringing some predictability and safety to the operation. My grandpa had 9 acres and every day at a certain time he would walk out to the fence and call, “Come boss! Come boss!” and bang on a coffee can with his cane a couple of times. No matter where they were, they would turn and start towards the gate.
“Hey! Look at that bunch of cows!”
“Not bunch, herd.”
“Herd of cows.”
Well, sure, I’ve heard of cows.”
“No, no, no, no! A cow herd!”
“Oh, what do I care what a cow heard? I got no secrets from a cow.”