The Cow That Got Hooked

You know, when you live in close proximity to cattle and talk to them and listen to what they say, you begin to think you know a lot about them and think you have see it all.  I decided this week that maybe there was more to see and understand about cattle.  Late in the afternoon, I was near the barn and noticed a long-tailed heifer  under the shed of the barn.  She was the only member of the cattle herd anywhere around.  Cows don't just hang around by themselves unless there is a reason to do so.  This is a family herd that all grew up together and if one decides to jog, they all do.  If one decides to drink, they all do.  I decided that I better investigate this heifer and see why she suddenly decided to be a loner.  So, I approached her.  She could move around but wouldn’t get out from under the shed of the barn.  As I went closer, I noticed she was "caught like a fish" on a short gate chain that had a full sized chain hook on the end.  The hook was buried full up to its depth of about two inches in her nose.  She was caught like a giant fish with sad eyes.  Approaching any animal that is caught in a situation of entanglement can cause them to go into a shock of panic.  My sudden nightmare vision caused me to see her jump back and rip off one side of her face if I tried to rescue her.  I considered all the options and there weren’t any.  I decided the only way to rescue her was to approach with a pair of bolt cutters and cut the chain, if she jumped back and ripped her face off it was still the only way; the chain had to be cut.

As I approached, she began to move back and tug on the chain.  I think to myself, it is time to try some of that horse whispering even if she is a cow.  Since I couldn’t think of anything clever, I decided to say something to her that she had never heard before and see if it would calm her down.  So I said in a very small whisper, Shhh, Shhh, like I thought she would understand.  She stopped tugging at that moment and looked at me as if to say, what are you talking about.  During her moment of trying to understand me, I made the cut on the chain. She walked away free of the chain.  

OK, Spivy, I am Not Calling The Vet

She still had the hook in her nose as she walked away as I did a bit of wishful thinking like "Please Lord let the hook fall out now and let’s end this."  I waited for an answer but none came.  The hook stayed in her nose.  I said "OK, Spivy, (she has sort of an original name) I am not calling the vet for this one so just get ready, it’s just you and me." So, I drove her into the squeeze chute and caught her head in the gate made for that purpose.  If you think a cow trusts you more with their head caught in a head gate, just stop believing it.  Her demeanor indicated the hook was not on her mind at the moment.  I reached for the hook several times and she said "get your hands away from my nose."  I am thinking, "this is not going as well as I had hoped for", but I didn’t tell her that.  After a few minutes of frustration, both hers and mine, she finally allowed me to touch the hook and it lifted right out.   I turned her out to the pasture where she could forget the incident and heal properly.  I saw her at the water trough two days later and I could tell she was trying to remember where she had seen me before.



Long tailed heifers usually heifers, 20 months or older that are of breeding age. Tails are long enough to touch the ground in some cases.