For those of you not familiar with a cattle crush it is a large and robust metal structure designed to hold a cow still if you need to inspect or handle him or her in some way. They have to be built strong because a full grown cow is heavy and strong, and cattle running fairly free like ours don’t much like being handled. Anyway, usually, the cow is inside the crush and you are outside. But not always ….
As I mentioned in a previous post we are calving at the moment (lambing too, but that’s a different story). And each new calf has to be registered and tags fixed to both of their ears. That’s easier said than done. Even a young calf is strong and pretty nimble and their mothers are typically very protective of them. Sometimes, they are aggressively protective. That is certainly the case with one of our new mothers who becomes very belligerent if you get anywhere near her calf.
We have been waiting for the right opportunity to rage three calves and that opportunity came earlier this week when the calves were playing around and ran into the pen which feeds the crush whilst we were watching. We were able to shut them in the pen with their mothers outside, and quickly push them into the crush. Two of the mothers were anxious but not hysterical; the third was anxious, hysterical and highly likely to do something extremely dangerous (dangerous, that is, to us). She could easily have smashed through into the pen. So we decided to join the calves in the crush; one crush, two men, three calves. Very cosy. Outside there was a snorting, furious mother who clearly wanted to kill us. She was banging and pushing against the crush and she certainly got my adrenalin pumping.
It took a little while and we had our toes stood on a few times but we eventually got the calves tagged and then let them out. Fortunately the mothers swept up the calves and raced off as far as they could so we could make good our escape and return to the vehicle. If they had decided to stand their ground it could have been a long night.
It is a new cattle crush. It seemed expensive but I now know why they are built so strong!