Sure looks nice and friendly now doesn't he? And he is, just a little too spunky to be able to stand beside him and scratch his neck though. He taught me a few more lessons on keeping a bull just recently and I'll share...
Rule #1...Never scratch or ever rub their heads. I touch them lots when they are babies but I never ever scratch or rub their heads. Heads are what get you when your not looking...even if they're in friendly moods. When they aren't in pleasant moods..they push, butt, walk over you.
Rule #2..Be the Boss! (but keep solid steel fence between you)
I decided it was time to sell a few calves. I sorted calves about a month ago and weaned them. I also put the Bull in with them, since he needs to learn to be apart from the herd for times. He liked it..grain delivered every morning and evening. I liked it because I could walk with the girls and check up close how all my girls handled the Summer.
Now for the hard part, load the calves without loading that Bull. I have several pens that I can sort them into, but the spoiling them morning and night with grain only made the Bull more convinced that I was indeed the Grain Fairy. He loved me and kept me in his sight at all times. He was like glue. My Son had already left for school and it was early morning...just light enough to see which ones were steers and heifers. I wanted to get home early the night before and at least have them sorted but the Sun set before I got home. All had to be done before I headed to work. I thought about calling my other Son down the road...but it was awfully early and I really need to do these things myself.
So, I take grain to the cows in the pasture and lay some on the hay for them. I run down to the corrals and by then the Bull is acting up. He is at the gate and had been running around in the pen pretty excited. Kicking , twirling, charging...you get the picture. I opened the panel to sort him out of the pen area and let him back in with the Cows. He walked to the open panel and head down and tail snapping he skidded around it thinking I was playing a game. I holler like a sailor and sounded like I meant business...all the while my legs are starting to tremble. I swung it wider and get behind the flimsy rail to entice him to go on...run on out now. He finally sees the open path and out he goes but twirls around and stands ready checking me out. I crawl over yank it shut and say " Get now". I sounded tough so he turned and hopped skipped and kicked his heels all the way up the hill to where the girls were. He saw the large round bale (1200lb) that I had just pushed into the lot. He rammed it, slammed it, pushed it over and trampled it. Then he put that head of his down and did that low bawling growl that Bulls are famous for. He showed it alright. He also showed me. Keep him in view at all times. Don't act intimidated but be smart.
I went back to sorting the steers and miraculously had them loaded and locked in the trailer. I went to the house to get ready for work now.
When I took off my shoes I stood there and then I felt it. My knees were still shaking, my heart was still pounding and my spine was ready to crumble. But I did it and I was still patting myself on the back when I backed into the loading chutes at the Yard.
I have decided that Rudy is a gem but he will be sold this next year. I think this ole girl can handle cows just fine, but Bulls are not my thing. I am very anxious to see what I get for calves from him but this next year I have them bred to my Stylish/alias Gigilo. Another bull I hand raised. He was registered Angus and he was a Beaut! He just knew his job too well and I couldn't keep him home. He traveled. He just took fences with him.
Rudy will be used for this next year and by Fall he will hopefully go to someone who lets him be a Bull for a few more years.
Life is hard sometimes and while I make sure all my livestock live happily and are easy to handle..I will not be foolish keeping Bulls for long. I can rent/lease a Bull for a time and that's good enough for what I need.
Now, next I'll have to show you what a headstrong Buck can do to a panel. Testosterone is certainly a powerful thing. I just know I CAN handle that Buck without my knees shaking me apart. Pretty sure I can anyway...and I gotta show you that fence!!