Friday, September 14, 2012

Ferdie, the Milk Fiend

As you can see, Ferdie has GROWN and changed from brown to black.  Incredibly strong, he is also a notorious titty baby.  After a day of being separated from his mama, he becomes absolutely frantic to nurse.  I have given up trying to lead him in an orderly fashion when it's time to rejoin Fiona.  Maybe if I wore welding gloves, my hands could stand up to the friction he produces in the rope.  No, I just go ahead and untie him and say a prayer that no one gets in the way of his one-bull stampede.  He leaps to start, just like a racehorse out of the gate, and twists and kicks along the trail to his creamy goal.

Lord, have mercy.  He scares me.

He flies to this reunion in such extreme agitation, that he always tries to go through the chain link fence first, then finally bounds for the gate and does an epileptic milk dance before I can get it open, my own feet dancing dancing an Irish jig to avoid becoming targets of his sharp and heavy hooves.  He charges through once the latch is lifted, slamming the gate in his wake as he attacks Fiona's udder with such force that she stumbles backward.

You would think that he had been fasting in the desert instead of grazing all day.

Almost immediately upon latching on, a long cord of foamy milk and saliva mixture stretches from his greedy lips to the ground, breaking momentarily when he detaches to "butt the bag" so hard that I wince in sympathy for his mama.  He rotates through all the teats repeatedly, until he makes absolutely sure that no milk is left.  It's a long process.  That's why, on the rare occasions when I bring them together before I get Fiona back to the pen, I don't want to wait for Ferdie to nurse.

That's how I witnessed his best trick of all.

I had tied each of them to separate pecan trees near the road.  Close to dark, I untied Fiona and started leading her back home.  I decided to release Ferdie and let him follow on his own.  I knew that he would be desperate to nurse, but I resolved to give Fiona no slack.  She, however, wanted to stand still and feed her "baby".  I refused to give in; there wasn't any way that I was going to stand there for twenty minutes while Ferdie sucked his satisfaction out of Fiona.  I had other things to do.

So I started tugging her down the driveway toward the house.  I  tugged, and she dug in her hooves.  I felt like one of those pioneer horses, trying to tow a Conestoga wagon up a rocky mountain pass.  Sweat popped out on my forehead and pricked my underarms.  When Fiona managed to resist my pulling, Titty Baby dove for a teat.

As soon as I got her going again, Ferdie charged in front of Fiona and cut her off by turning his body sideways across her chest.  Once he stopped her, he plunged for her udder, a two-step play that up until then had been his best trick.

Again, I pulled hard on Fiona's rope, tightening her harness around her muzzle.  Reluctantly, she put her legs in motion.

That was when I turned and saw Ferdie's backside walking toward me.

He was walking backwards, in double-time, while nursing.

Weird, weird, weird!

It looked like a four-legged, headless body was following me.

I think it even frightened Fiona, because she started jogging.

At that moment, as the sun set, I wondered, "How did I get to this crazy place and why am I here in this carnival of animals?"

Then I just started laughing.


Kathy Felsted Usher said...

I don't know anything about raising cattle but that's just strange! LOL

Anonymous said...

Animals are intelligent and they don't give up if you give them a way they will find it.

If you want a milch cow you can't treat the cow or its calf like pets.

Wendy Haught said...

Kathy, this is our first time raising a calf, so I don't know if it's normal either. Keeps life interesting though!