The last time we merged two herds was a tough day with broken fences and cows running through vineyards and off up the road. This time we managed it a little better.
First we checked the fences. Gustav did some therapeutic cleaning of the blackberries and I fixed up some new fence.
What every smart-dressed pickup has in the back – vine posts, wire, clover seed, a rolled up Carhartt jacket and a sledgehammer.
Then we moved the ‘old’ herd to Triangle North. We call it the old herd but it contains eighteen heifers and four mother cows so the herd is rather more Young and the Restless than Days of our Lives. Triangle North is lush and they ignored the fresh hay bale to eat up the late winter grass and take a nap in the sunshine.
We moved the new herd down the hill from the yards to the Emerson-T paddock next to the old herd. There was a single wire fence to separate them. I rolled out hay so the 15 new cows could all have access at the same time. So we have a herd on both sides of the fence, each with grass and hay.
But two herds with a fence between them means a moo-off over the wire. They faced each other. They mooed.
But the allure of the hay was too strong, so they chewed instead.
The one incident was heifer 29. She wanted the hay on the other side of the fence so she jumped over from a standing start. Those heifers can jump.
They spent the night on opposite sides of the fence. The next morning we removed the fence and the herds mixed and ate each other’s hay. You can see from the first photo above that the fence wasn’t in any great shape so there was no loss in taking it down.
The merge was uneventful except for a little pushing with the new heifers and the old heifers. Blackie Onassis was in the middle of things getting her rear sniffed by the athletic heifer 29.
Now we have just the one cow herd.
The combined herd is doing a much better job of cleaning up the winter grass than the heifer herd. This is the ‘herd effect’ in action. Having a lot more mother cows helps with handling the herd moves, too.