Grit Blogs > Farm Fresh and Frugal

Bribing Cows

MaryAnnIt was inevitable I suppose, but my cow Ed was finally sent to the butcher. To make matters worse, the older cows that I spent two years bribing with apples and corn got sent to auction the same day. In the summer, they wander through close to 100 acres of pasture so I don’t get to see them as often. In winter, they tend to stay closer to the feed troughs so it is easier to visit. While summer provides a variety of choices for grazing, winter brings a steady diet of silage so apples are a treat worth coming for. I assumed I’d have a long winter of bribery ahead of me before I could coax any of the remaining cows to come to me.

Eddie's Girlfriend 

Eddy's Girlfriend

I work for a neighboring farm in the summer helping the farmer’s wife at the market on Saturdays and occasionally in the fields when the need arises. There are usually plenty of apples stored in the old milk house all winter and occasionally I’ll go and pick out the ones that are starting to go bad and take the bucket of yummies down to Paul’s to bribe the cows with. With the apple harvest being poor this year and another extremely cold winter predicted I didn’t expect any great success.

We have two very prolific pears trees in our yard, and last week, while cleaning up and working on mulch, I picked up all the fallen pears and headed to the farm; no sense letting them go to waste, with pigs, sheep and goats, I figured someone would eat them, besides if the cows liked apples maybe I could bribe them with pears as well. Katie and I gathered our bucket and took a walk out to where the cows were grazing. As luck would have it we made a few new friends.

Bribing Cows

The cows are funny, most will avoid you, but all it takes is one curious cow to see what you’re offering and the next thing you know you’re surrounded. As soon as the rest see one eating from your hands, they suddenly become curious and within a few minutes there is a whole bunch of head butting going on. After a few trips into the pasture with pears, I now have two that will readily come to me. One is female that was born two or three winters ago that we named Ditto. The other I refer to as Eddy’s Girlfriend since she and Ed were often found together in the pasture. Both are sweet, and Ditto will actually now come with or without the pears. A couple more buckets of treats and hopefully I can coax a few more to come to me. Maybe it won’t be such a lonely winter after all.