Cow Working Donkeys

Last week I took the opportunity of a slacked class schedule to throw some clothes in a bag, my boots in the truck, and drive home for a four day weekend. ONly just because I could. I needed a break from classes and time to destress before my final few weeks of class. There was plenty of food, family, and fun to go round for those few days.

My parents and I took advantage of the opportunity to work a small herd of cows that had yet to receive their spring vaccinations. The pasture where these cattle are located is on the wrong side of a deep holler, so it takes a little more effort to get everything, including a trailer, up there to work the cows. As usual there is one or two that we might want to cull, be it from a lost calf or age.

When we finished working the cattle we had one cow to cull, of course she had to be the meanest one of the bunch. Now when I say that she was crazy, I am talking about her flight zone. This might be due to previous owners’ handling methods or just the fact that some cows come by it naturally.

When I went to load this cow in the chute for her trip to the town, she promptly decided she would not go willingly and decided to tree me up the fence instead. Well dad had to come help me distract the cow so we could get her in the chute and close the gate behind her. Remember when I said our pens were not in the best of shape? Well this comes into paly when the cows runs up the chute and into the trailer, decides she does not like the situation and runs over the panel that is tied up at the end of the chute. Luckily she is still in one of our pens so she is not loose yet. We take safety on the ranch seriously in our family and crazy, mean cows are not something we keep around for long, so we are determined to haul off this cows while I am around to help.

We decide that the cow just might be silly enough to run into the open trailer gates. Very low chance of this happening, but what the heck is there to lose by trying? So we happen to still have our donkeys in the pen, two very pregnant jennys and a jack, so we drive them with the cow to calm her a little bit. Usually a stirred up cow is easier to drive with companions to calm her nerves. We drive the 4 up toward the trailer, everyone on pins and needles waiting for this cow to break and tree us up the fence again.

Lo and behold the jennys look interested in jumping in the trailer (we have made several attempts to load these things and it’s never easy) so we keep the four close in hopes that the cow might be silly enough to jump on in. Well they circle a few times and the two jennys jump in the trailer, the cow is standing behind them and the jack just nudges the cow right on in. Who would have thought that our donkeys could load a crazy cow better than we could?!?! We had the cow loaded and she was off to town.

Well they might not be perfectly trained, but it’s a great idea. I might just decide to go into the business of training donkeys to work cows one day. Too bad they are too stubborn more times than not. It’s just another day’s work on the ranch! Who needs cow-dogs when you have good jennys?

6 Comments

  1. Thanks ya'll. I just thought I would share the story with ya. I didn't quite believe it myself when I first saw them do it.

    Rc, glad I could put a lil light in your day!

  2. Great story. My wife had a funny experience once with a horse who didn't like to go in the trailer. He was good friends with our barn cat, and the cat happened to run into the trailer and, of course, the horse quickly and happily followed. This was, sadly, just a one-time event.

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