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Don’t Stress When Your Animals Escape

Cow At The Fence

Having animals test fences will really test your patience. Animals escape. And of course there is me who has literally posted flyers of my lost cow all over the neighborhood when she broke through our fence when we first brought her home. It was a learning curve. I now know that cows really should not be alone. If they are they will test your fence’s weak points to go find their herd.

I have learned all about animal behaviors since beginning this homesteading journey. Animal husbandry, their natural instincts, herding behavior, and body cues. I have become quite the shepherdess. And now our farm looks quite a bit different.

At any given day over the past month you may have seen cows, a horse, or goats, or all three, in our front yard. And we pretty much just walk right by them without a worry.

We Have A Yard Horse Now

Our horse Claire choked. She experienced a long, slow choke, and then suffered an infection and muscle weakness. We thought we were going to lose her. The vet thought we were going to lose her too. So we kept her in the stall and gave her a mash feed twice a day but I knew she needed to build up her strength grazing.

We wanted to give her a place to graze without stressing her muscles which is challenging given our 30 degree slopes in northern Harrison County. So we let her out in the yard. We have a yard horse. And we do not worry about her at all. All throughout the day I walk right by her, without any fences keeping her in, and she doesn’t have a care in the world other than eating the fresh grass in front of her. 

Cows Keep Getting Out

The cows have been pushing down our old horse fencing, they find all the rotting boards and push right through them to get to the fresh grass on the other side. First of all, cows should be kept in woven wire fencing. BUT we don’t have the money to replace all of our fencing right now, so we constantly patch the fence only for the cows to do it again.

But I don’t stress. Why? Because now we have a little herd. Arabelle, Bob Burger, and Arabelle’s baby Dolly. They don’t want to leave each other. They don’t want to leave where they are familiar, and where hay, water, and grain is available and plentiful. They just want fresh spring grass. They’re very easy to herd back into their pasture with just a bit of grain in a bucket.

Don’t Underestimate The Power Of A Grain Bucket

We train all of our animals on a grain bucket. It is the best thing I can suggest for managing and handling livestock. They will do anything and go anywhere for grain.

Lately three of my Alpine goats have been getting out. Everyday this week in fact. I have walked the fence lines but I still cannot figure out where they are getting out from. The thing is, these boys know me. They love me. I am their mother. All I ever have to do is yell “Boyyyyysssssss” and they all come running towards me!

I bottle fed all four of my Alpine babies and even though they’re every bit of 300 lbs and have 3 ft long horns, they’re still my gentle, sweet boys, and they will follow me anywhere. They have no interest in leaving our farm. They just want to graze on the stuff that isn’t available to them in the pasture.

I saw them in the woods eating briars and brambles and that is exactly what goats are good for! I couldn’t find Albert for the longest time yesterday so I went out on our back deck and yelled “Allllberrrttt” and I caught a glimpse of him in the garden and he came running right to Mom. I went down to meet him and he proceeded to hop around in excitement. I just love them so much.

We went together to check on Drew at the barn who was changing the oil filter on the skid steer and Albert just hung out in the shop with us. 

If you have a hands on relationship with your animals, you should not stress when they get out. If you are the one feeding them everyday, they will turn to you and follow you. Animals escape, but they will always associate you with food, safety, and care.

I pet my goats and cows just like they are my dogs. I even took a little nap on my cow’s belly the other day in the field. These are my kiddos and they see me as Mom and that is how you have a low stress homestead.

Writing these letters to you in between chores, covered in hay and dust…


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