One pleasant spring day, the windows were open, and hubby was spreading fertilizer in the pasture next to the house. The old herd bull was in this pasture because it was too early to turn him out with the cows, and there would be fighting, and likely injuries, if we put him in the feedlot pens with the yearling and two-year old bulls we were offering for sale.
During springtime, bulls are noisy. The old bull loudly voices displeasure at being separated from the cows. He also wants to remind the young bulls that this is his herd. The young bulls are busy establishing their own pecking order through shoving matches alternated with vocalizations that range from deep, bass rumblings all the way to piercing baritone “moo”s. It was against this noisy backdrop that I participated in a conference call that was expected to last about an hour. I have a home office and participate frequently in these.
About 10 or 15 minutes after the call started, I realized that the bull-related noise was different; much louder, and more aggressive than usual. I glanced out the window toward our feedyard. Everything appeared to be in order. The young bulls were shoving each other, but none had escaped or appeared injured. I returned my attention to the conference call, but soon realized that the source of the noise was close to the house…very close. I began to walk from window to window on the main floor, looking for a bull on the lawn.
I was simultaneously taking notes for the conference call and confused over my inability to locate a very large, very angry animal. In exasperation, I leaned my head against our large, upstairs window. That is when I spotted the south end of a north-facing bull, He was pressed so close to the house, that I could not see him unless I was looking directly down toward the patio doors that led to the walk-out portion of the basement.
Immediately, I headed downstairs to assess the situation. The scene that greeted me was unnerving. Through the patio doors, I could see a 2200 pound bull with his head lowered in an aggressive posture. He was using his front hooves to dig large holes in the dirt and toss it up in the air as a challenge. My stomach did flip-flops when I realized that he was challenging another bull to a fight. The only problem was that the other bull was, in fact, his own reflection in the window!
I quickly passed off note-taking duties to someone else on the conference call, hung up, and formulated a plan. This bull was usually extremely docile and enjoyed treats (corn) in five gallon pails. I ran into the garage, found a suitable pail, and cautiously ventured outside in the hope that it would lure the bull away from my window.
I called the bull’s name and shook the bucket to no avail. He was definitely not going to let my lame attempts distract him from defeating this magnificent new rival. At this point, I was totally convinced that there was going to be a bull crashing into my basement at any moment.
By this time, husband had noticed the commotion, parked the tractor, and arrived to offer assistance. He also tried the pail trick, but the bull ignored us both. To make a long story short, the only successful way to move the bull was for husband to drive the pickup right up against the side of the house and shove the bull away from his “challenger”. He used the pickup to force the bull back toward the pasture gate which, incidentally, husband left open while he was fertilizing the pasture (surely the old, tame bull would never find an open gate for the few minutes it took to spread fertilizer…..)
I rejoined my conference call, and provided my coworkers with a great deal of amusement. The large divots dug out by the bull near the patio doors took a long to time repair as our puppy thought they were a great place to continue digging. And, husband now shuts the pasture gate even when he is only going to be there for a few minutes.